Spirit take share of NWSL lead with shutout victory over Red Stars

News Release, Washington Spirit

Boyds, Md. (5/26/19) – The Washington Spirit claimed a share of the NWSL lead after shutting out the Chicago Red Stars in a 2-0 victory at SeatGeek Stadium. The Spirit are now tied with league leaders Utah on points.

Chicago nearly took an early 1-0 lead in the 7th minute after Red Stars attacker Vanessa Di Bernardo connected with a line-drive shot from the right side of the six yard box that passed Spirit keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, but a reacting header by defender Paige Nielsen on the goal line prevented the ball from clearing over, keeping the match scoreless.

The Spirit took the lead early in the 9th minute after Sam Staab connected off a corner from Jordan DiBiasi, sending a tricky ball towards goal. After a few bobbles on the line, a failed clearance by Red Stars midfielder Yuki Nagasato deflected off of keeper Emily Boyd for an own goal, putting the Spirit up 1-0.

It was the first own goal conceded by the Red Stars in the last six years.

At the half, the Spirit owned a majority of the ball with 54 percent of the possession, and lead the game in passing percentage with a 74 percent completion rate. The Spirit pressed effectively and forced mistakes from Chicago, who completed passes at only a 67 percent rate.

The Spirit doubled their lead in the 63rd minute after a cross from the right wing by Arielle Ship connected with Ashley Hatch on the right corner of the six-yard box, stretching her foot past defender Katie Naughton and tapping the ball out of Boyd’s reach.

In a match which saw a total of 18 shots by the Red Stars, Aubrey Bledsoe recorded seven saves and tallied her third clean sheet of the season, including an incredible save in the 90+4th minute in which she sprawled to her right, stopping a low-driven attempt from Casey Short.

Prior to today’s match, the Red Stars were unbeaten in their last nine matches at SeatGeek Stadium (6W-3D). The Spirit claimed their first three-game win streak since the 2016 campaign.

The Spirit return home to the Maryland SoccerPlex to play against Utah Royals FC on June 1 at 7 p.m. ET in a battle for sole possession of first place in the NWSL.

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars

Date: May 26, 2019

Venue: SeatGeek Stadium

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

Weather: Low 60s, Cloudy

Scoring Summary:


WAS – Emily Boyd (OG) 9’

WAS – Ashley Hatch 63‘


WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 9-Tegan McGrady (76’ 24-Carlin Hudson); 3-Sam Staab; 14-Paige Nielsen; 23-Tori Huster; 17-Cali Farquharson (60’ 19-Dorian Bailey); 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard; 33-Ashley Hatch; 2-Arielle Ship (74’ 31-Crystal Thomas); 4-Jordan DiBiasi

Unused Substitutes: 30-Shae Yanez; 5-Megan Crosson; 13-Bailey Fiest; 18-McKenzie Berryhill

CHI (4-3-3):

21- Emily Boyd; 3-Arin Wright; 14-Sarah Gorden; 5-Katie Naughton (75’ 31-Jenna Szczesny); 6-Casey Short; 2-Nikki Stanton; 23-Brooke Elby (55’ 15-Maria Sanchez); 7-Michele Vasconcelos (‘75 32-Zoey Goralski); 10-Vanessa Di Bernardo; 12-Yuki Nagasato; 33-Katlyn Johnson

Unused Substitutes: 24-Danielle Colaprico; 30-Hannah Davison; 28-Kayla Sharples; 16-Alison Jahansouz

Stats Summary: WAS / CHI

Shots: 10 / 18

Shots on Goal: 4 / 9

Saves: 7 / 2

Blocked Shots: 2 / 3

Fouls: 11 / 12

Offside: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:

WAS – Meggie Dougherty Howard 16’ – Yellow Card

CHI – Katlyn Johnson 93’ – Yellow Card


Referee: Lukasz Szpala

Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner

Assistant Referee 2: Tiffini Turpin

Fourth Official: Timothy Geis

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