Francisca OrdegaGame Day CoverageJim GabarraStephanie Labbe

Outburst of scoring gives Spirit first win of 2017

After scoring just one goal in the first three games of the season, the Washington Spirit attack opened up for four goals in a 4-3 win over Sky Blue on Saturday night. The win moved the Spirit up the table from 9th place to 7th place at the end of Saturday.

Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit
Starting XI: Labbé; Johnson, Church, Zadorsky; Solaun, Huster, Dougherty Howard, Sigvardsen, Kallman; Ship, Ordega

Francisca Ordega opened up the scoring for the Spirit in the 6th minute off of a pass from midfielder Line Sigvardsen. She netted her second goal of the game in the 56th minute, which would be the eventual game winner. Ordega would also add an assist on Havana Solaun’s goal in the 34th minute and force an own goal from Sky Blue.

“To see her individual effort on at least two of the goals was pretty awesome,” Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé said in the post game media scrum. “You could see that she was a big threat to them and they were having trouble dealing with her strength and her speed. It’s fun to see a player have those games and you know, it doesn’t happen all the time, but to see a player kind of on their game and just feeling it, I think it’s really fun to watch.”

Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit
Ordega celebrates with her teammates after one of her two goals on the evening.

Despite giving up three goals in the match, the Spirit held on to a one-goal lead for the last 20 minutes. This was in part thanks to the play of veterans Labbé and defender Estelle Johnson.

“I think the experience back there made a huge difference keeping us calm,” head coach Jim Gabarra said after the game. “Also the whole team learned a valuable lesson in the Orlando match where I think we got a little frantic, we got a little over anxious going forward and we didn’t really keep our shape and really focus on defending. I think it’s great to have an experienced player like Estelle [Johnson], who’s been through these many, many games and many situations where you’re trying to protect a one-goal lead.”

Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit
Labbé punches the ball over the bar late in the game to preserve the 4-3 win over Sky Blue.

The outburst of scoring was a welcome sign, relieving some of the pressure on the backline. Labbé was proud of the performance, despite the team allowing three goals.

“It’s a big relief. I think, you know, it’s been a long time coming,” Labbé said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work. The biggest thing is to get it at home. I think stepping out here today, we really wanted to score for our fans and give them something to cheer for and we gave them that four times today.”

The Spirit return to action next Saturday when they travel to the west coast for the first time this season to take on the Seattle Reign. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. EST. Seattle is coming off of a 2-2 tie in Portland. Soccer returns to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, May 20 as the Spirit play host to FC Kansas City.

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