Washington Spirit won in an ugly game
Sunday was full of action in the NWSL.
Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign
It was the debut — or the continuation of the history — of Mark Parsons as head coach of the Washington Spirit. The capital city team wants to leave behind a forgettable 2022 after being first-time NWSL champions in 2021.
That’s why they hired Parsons. His reputation at a club level proceeds him. Sadly, the same cannot be said about her national team coach stint. Will he be able to help the Spirit to have another successful season? We will have to wait and see. Nonetheless, the fact that his team won despite a very ugly game says something about his capacity as head coach to get results.
Without USWNT players Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett in the backline, Parsons is trying to build a team strong defensively speaking. With this intention, the club signed left-back Canadian international Gabrielle Carle. The defender already has her fair share of experience with the national team and will be pivotal this year.
Offensively speaking, the game turned out to be ugly for Washington. This resulted in them having to play direct, something that was not in the coach’s mind.
In a game where the numbers were not in their favor, the chart for Washington says much. In fact, they had 55% pass completion, a number that’s very low for Parsons’ standards and one of the lowest in the history of the league. What is more, goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury had 24 long passes in this game. That’s the most any goalkeeper in Week 1 attempted, along with Houston’s Campbell.
However, the home team got the win despite the little soccer they showed. They have Trinity Rodman to thank for that. In view of what their 2022 looked like, we can say this is an improvement and the players know it. “The Spirit of last year would have lost this game 3-1,” Kingsbury said after the match.
No doubt OL Reign’s coach Laura Harvey and Parsons know each other very well and although he has won this battle, we can expect a different outcome when these teams meet again in October.
Houston Dash vs. Racing Louisville
This game was the only one that ended up in a draw during the weekend. Granted, the goalkeepers had an impact on the match. Hence, Louisville’s keeper Katie Lund finished with seven saves after 90-plus minutes. That makes her the second keeper in the league in the number of saves department.
If we speak about the starters, Louisville’s new signings and former Courage defenders Abby Erceg and Carson Pickett were on the field as well as former Tigres player Uchenna Kanu. Each team had to deal with important absences, which may have determined the final outcome. Among those absences was the winger María Sanchez who was injured during the week and subbed in the second half.
Notwithstanding of her absence in the starting XI, she made an impact on the field when in the 70th minute she combined with her countrywoman Diana Ordóñez and almost opened the counter. Too bad Katie Lund made a double save and the score didn’t move.
Angel City vs. Gotham
In a sold-out BMO Stadium, Angel City kicked off its season against a reloaded Gotham FC. The NJ/NY team had USWNT players Lynn Williams and O’Hara in its starting XI, while the hosts are still dealing with important players injured.
Nonetheless, Angel City had the No. 1 draft pick Alyssa Thompson who, by the way, scored a screamer only eleven minutes into the match. Furthermore, Japanese international Jun Endo scored another golazo for the hosts but sadly it was disallowed.
Angel City was on fire in the first half in contrast to Gotham, which looked lost in the field. The addition of O’Hara to the roster meant that Gotham would have a player that is still in recovery and we could see that in the game. Therefore, their attack was heavily leaned to the left. The right-back would add herself to the attack but would go back to her defensive position late often. That is why coach Amorós only gave her 45 minutes and put Svava in her place.
Despite the fact that goalkeeper DiDi Haracic did pretty well, she made a costly mistake ten minutes into the first half. While trying to claim a ball, she made a foul in her box and the referee granted Gotham the penalty. As a result, Midge Purce buried that ball in the back of the net.
And in the end, it was a combination of another of the new signings, Yazmeen Ryan, along with Midge Purce, and Williams the one that gave Gotham the victory away from home.
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