NWSL Week 14 Midweek Recap

USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Spirit lost again, while Seattle Reign turned in a solid performance in a 5-goal thriller.

Washington Spirit vs Chicago Red Stars, Final Score: 0-2

Chicago defeated Washington with two second half goals ten minutes apart for a 2-0 victory at Maryland Soccerplex.

Tensions mounted between both sides early on in the 8th minute when Chicago was awarded a penalty kick after claiming a handball against Candace Chapman. Chicago's hope of finding an early lead was taken away by Ashlyn Harris who made a low diving save after correctly reading Inka Grings' shot.

Both sides had additional opportunities in the opening half to get on the scoreboard but both defenses did their jobs. In the 14th minute, the Spirit's Stephanie Ochs had a promising run into the penalty box as she slipped through the defense with only Erin McLeod to beat but defender Taryn Hemmings cleared the danger.

The first half remained scoreless despite a close call from Chicago. They won a free kick on the side of the 18 yard box but Lori Chalupny's shot hit the side netting.

The opening goal of the night came in the 63rd minute, from Adrianna Leon. She pushed the ball out of the midfield and carried it into the box as the defense failed to close her down. Their failure to act cost them the game as Leon found ample space inside the box to cut back twice before rocketing her shot into the upper 90 to earn Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Washington did well to dispossess Chicago in the midfield following their lead but could not keep Chicago off the board for long as Ella Masar chipped the second goal of the night in the 71st minute. Chicago was attempting to keep a corner kick ball alive when Leon bicycle kicked the ball towards Masar who flicked the ball over Harris' head for a 2-0 win and three points on the road.

Seattle Reign FC vs Western New York Flash, Final Score: 3-2

The Reign were moments away from recording their second consecutive draw this month before Christine Nairn scored the game winner in the 81st minute to give the home team three points and a 3-2 win over WNYF.

Seattle didn't strike first in the opening half but Jessica Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe made sure they would give the home side something to cheer about before the opening 45 minutes came to a close. Seattle played well offensively, testing the visitors early on but it was their determination to score early that cost them the lead.

Renae Cuellar and Keelin Winters were pressing the WNYF defense at the top of the 18 yard box when Brittany Taylor sent a long range clearance out of the box to find Abby Wambach at the top of the Reign penalty area. Wambach ran onto the ball, squeezing past two Seattle defenders and beat Hope Solo to give the Flash the lead after nine minutes of action.

The Reign countered and eventually found a goal through Fishlock in the 13th minute. Seattle pressed the defense inside the box where Christine Nairn's pass to Cuellar was deflected off the boot of Estelle Johnson and landed at the feet of Fishlock, who finished it off at the far post beyond Adrianna Franch's reach.

The score remained 1-1 for 30 minutes until Rapinoe took advantage of the Flash's poor defending right at the end of the first half. Jessica McDonald shipped the ball across the face of the net but it was poorly cleared by Alex Sahlen, who returned the ball to a hesitant Franch. The Flash keeper took her time with the ball and made a poor clearance under pressure from Cuellar. The ball fell to Rapinoe inside the box and she finished past a bewildered Franch.

Unfortunately for the home side, their lead was short lived in the second half as Wambach struck again, converting a penalty kick in the 47th minute after Kaylyn Kyle took her down inside the six yard box.

Both sides fought hard to break the level game and it would be Seattle who did so eventually. The final goal of the night was scored in the 81st minute by Nairn. Elli Reed assisted in the game winner, setting up the cross on the edge of the penalty box to reach Nairn inside the six yard box who slipped the ball low into the corner of the net.

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