The Spirit came alive in the second half, scoring three goals to earn a 3-0 win over the Seattle Reign in front of a sellout crowd.
A quick goal from Amanda DaCosta just after halftime, a goal from Crystal Dunn, and then a converted penalty kick from Christine Nairn snapped the Reign’s eight-game unbeaten streak.
It was the largest loss for the Reign since a 3-0 loss to Sky Blue FC on May 19, 2013.
During a hot and humid first half, the Spirit mainly kept the ball in their own half but high pressure from the Spirit at the start of the second half led to DaCosta’s third goal of the season. Spirit forward Laura del Rio drove the ball down the left flank and her cross was tapped in by DaCosta, beating Kopmeyer to the near post.
The second goal started with Canadian international Diana Matheson, who came in for DaCosta in the 52nd minute, receiving a pass at midfield. With plenty of space, Matheson took it 25 yards out where she slotted it to Dunn. Dunn took it to her left, and with four defenders between her and goal, snuck it by Elli Reed. Dunn then had the space to shoot and buried her shot to the far post to make the score 2-0 with 22 minutes remaining.
Dunn contributed to the scoring again in the 83rd minute. Matheson, again receiving the ball near midfield with plenty of space, went on a 20 yard run before sending it out to Dunn on her right. Dunn went one-on-one with Cox in the penalty box and as Dunn cut inside Cox tackled her, earning a penalty kick for the Spirit. Nairn stepped up to the spot and though Seattle goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer dove correctly, Nairn finished it in the bottom left corner.
The Seattle defense held the Spirit offside six times, including a crucial moment in the 17th minute. Dunn’s shot from the far right shot bounced off a Seattle defender to the feet of Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman who tapped it in. Lohman was called offside and the score remained 0-0.
Later in the second half, Lohman sent a beautiful cross from the right flank to Matheson, running into the far left side of the penalty box, Matheson’s volley went straight to the save and Kopmeyer’s 78th-minute save kept the game 2-0.
It was a sellout and franchise record crowd and at the Maryland Soccerplex with 5,413 fans in attendance for the Spirit’s first game after the World Cup.
U.S. national team members Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger were unavailable for their respective clubs.
Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit; July 18, 2015
Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, Md.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Seattle 0 0 0
Washington 0 3 3
WAS — Da Costa, 46′ (del Rio)
WAS —Dunn, 69′ (Matheson),
WAS —Nairn, 83′ (PK)
SEA — Corsie, 20′ (Caution)
WAS — Reynolds, 31′ (Caution),
WAS — del Rio, 66′ (Caution)
SEA: Haley Kopmeyer, Rachel Corsie, Elli Reed, Lauren Barnes, Stephanie Cox, Keelin Winters, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Amber Brooks (Danielle Foxhoven, 76′), Beverly Yanez, Katrine Veje (Merritt Mathias, 57′)
WAS: Kelsey Wys, Katherine Reynolds, Estelle Johnson, Megan Oyster, Whitney Church, Christine Nairn, Joanna Lohman, Angela Salem (Tori Huster, 66′), Laura del Rio (Hayley Raso, 73′), Crystal Dunn, Amanda Da Costa (Diana Matheson, 52′)