The Red Stars secured three points and moved to third place in the NWSL standings after their 3-1 win over the Spirit on Sunday.
Sunday evening was the Red Stars’ third time playing the Washington Spirit in six weeks. In a match where there are few secrets as far as game plans go, coach Rory Dames said a win would come down to his team executing on the small details.
In the 19th minute, Mal Pugh displayed perfect execution on a right-footed shot from outside of the box that found the back of the net. In the 39th minute, Rachel Hill added to the Red Stars lead on a header following a corner kick.
Morgan Gautrat solidified the Red Stars win, converting a penalty kick in the 81 minute.
The Red Stars secured three points and moved to third place in the NWSL standings after their 3-1 win over the Spirit.
“In the first half we came out on the front foot,” Pugh said. “Our formation tactically led to [high] energy and wanting to keep the ball, possess, good transition and all things attacking minded.”
The Spirit are a young, dangerous team in transition. Ashley Hatch leads the league in goals scored with six and rookie Trinity Rodman is among the league’s top 10 scorers adding four more goals this season. The Red Stars backline kept the Spirit on their back foot in the first half.
In the second half the Spirit answered after a breakdown on the backline brought Cassie Miller out of the goal, giving Rodman a wide open shot in the 71st minute.
For teams like the Red Stars who have four Olympians playing in Tokyo, there’s a slightly different perspective during the Olympic break. Their focus remains on staying in the hunt. Dames stressed that the team he has right now has done a great job keeping the Red Stars at the top of the NWSL standings with their Olympians gone.
“Credit to this group because they’ve done a lot more than stick around,” Dames said. “They moved us.”
Up next the Red Stars play the Orlando Pride at SeatGeek Stadium on August 8. The Pride saw changes to their coaching staff in the last two weeks after former coach Mark Skinner resigned and Becky Burleigh was announced as the interim head coach. The Pride are 4-4-5, looking for their first win in six games.