By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md. – The Washington Spirit dominated statistically and controlled much of the game, but couldn’t break through offensively in a 0-0 draw on the team’s inaugural Pride Night at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The Spirit outshot the visiting Houston Dash 12-2 and amassed 63.9% of the total possession, keeping the Dash attack quiet throughout the game. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe had an easy night between the pipes as the Spirit defense kept Houston from placing a single shot on target.
Pride-themed decorations and merchandise around the SoccerPlex stadium made for a great Pride Night atmosphere, but the festivities were headlined by the retirement of former Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman’s No. 15 jersey. Lohman, a DMV native and an outspoken member of the LGBTQ+ community, spent the last four seasons of her 13-year professional career with the Spirit, including the team’s run to the NWSL Championship in 2016. She also represented the D.C. United Women and the Washington Freedom during her playing days.
In a special halftime ceremony, Lohman was presented with a ball and pride flag signed by the Spirit players, along with a framed No. 15 jersey with a rainbow No. 15. Following the match, a video featuring messages for Lohman from her former teammates was shown on the video board. Lohman is the first player ever to have her number retired by the Spirit.
The best scoring chance of the first half came when midfielder Bayley Feist sent a through ball into the box in the 31st minute. Although forward Ashley Hatch was able to get on the end of it, her redirection led harmlessly into the arms of Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell. Feist, who did a great job of creating chances in the first half, also had a shot from inside the box get blocked in the 42nd minute.
Defender Megan Crosson was an impact sub in the second half, entering in the 68th minute for forward Cali Farquharson. Playing further forward than her usual position, she was a creative force for Washington as the team tried to break down the Houston defense late in the game. Her best chance came in the 78th minute, when she finished a run into the box with a close-range shot that forced Campbell into a diving save at the near post.
The result was enough to keep Washington in first place in the NWSL with nine games in the books and extend the Spirit’s team record unbeaten streak to seven games. It was also the first-ever draw between the Spirit and Dash in the clubs’ ninth all-time meeting.
Washington will face Houston two more times this season, including one at the Maryland SoccerPlex on July 20. The next test up for the Spirit will be June 29 at home against the North Carolina Courage.