Washington Spirit Come Up Short Against Orlando Pride in NWSL Game of the Week

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The Washington Spirit fell 1-0 to the Orlando Pride in front of 4,005 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night. Orlando struck early in the 11th minute for the contest’s only goal. Alanna Kennedy intercepted a pass in the midfield and shot from just past midfield over the outstretched arms of Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to give the Pride a sudden 1-0 lead. It was the first goal conceded by the Spirit since a 2-0 loss to Chicago on June 2. It was the first goal scored on Bledsoe since the 78th minute of the 3-2 loss at the Houston Dash on May 27.

Washington’s leader in shots on target, Ashley Hatch, recorded the team’s first shot on goal in the 27th minute when her left-footed shot required a save from Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Hatch led Washington with five total shots. In the 67th minute, Taylor Smith nearly equalized when Andi Sullivan connected with her in stride streaking down the right side. Smith’s shot went just high and wide of the post. Three minutes later, the Spirit nearly equalized again on a breakaway produced by Tori Huster who placed a through ball down the left side to Francisca Ordega. Ordega’s space was cut out by the Orlando defense and her shot went wide of the net.

In the 84th minute, Caprice Dydasco produced the last major chance for the Spirit in the contest. She placed a shot on goal that required a diving save from Harris. The Pride goalkeeper was just able to push the shot wide to prevent a late equalizer.

Aside from the early goal conceded, the Spirit statistically outplayed the Pride. The Spirit recorded 17 total shots compared to the Pride’s seven. Washington placed more shots on goal (three) than the Pride (two). The Spirit out-passed Orlando (426 to 415) and out-possessed the Pride (50.6 percent to 49.4 percent).

The Washington Spirit hits the road for three consecutive contests beginning on Sunday, July 1 at 6 p.m. ET at the Chicago Red Stars. The team returns to the Maryland SoccerPlex Saturday, July 21 at 7 p.m. against the Houston Dash. [TICKETS]