BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Chicago Red Stars and Washington Spirit played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday night at SeatGeek Stadium. Trinity Rodman scored the breakthrough goal for the Spirit and Morgan Gautrat converted a late-game penalty for the equalizer.
The sides played each other for the first time this year at the Challenge Cup and five weeks into the regular season. Both teams welcomed the return of their national team players as Alyssa Naeher and Tierna Davidson earned starts for Chicago, while Emily Sonnet and Andi Sullivan returned to the Spirit’s starting lineup.
The first half featured a clogged middle third as both teams attempted to establish tempo. Neither side looking particularly cohesive to start. A physical battle between the two sides played out an uneventful first half, as the Spirit made a first half substitution for Ashley Hatch after the forward attempted to play through what appeared to be an earlier head injury.
Chicago spent less time with possession and in Washington’s half, though the Spirit held more shots on target to close out the first with two attempts on goal compared to Chicago’s one.
Second half shift
There were no immediate substitutions from either team to begin the second half, as the two clubs attempted to open play in the early minutes.
U.S. national team defender Kelley O’Hara was subbed into the match at the 63rd minute, and had an immediate impact for the Spirit, as the outside back quickly got involved in the attack. USWNT defender Sonnett was subbed out as a precaution during the 68th minute.
The two teams played a much more open match during the final fifteen minutes, and the break through goal finally came in the 85th minute, as Spirit captain Andi Sullivan lobbed a pass and connected with Trinity Rodman, splitting two centerbacks, and scored her first goal in the NWSL regular season. Rodman has impressed during her starts in the regular season, earning an assist on a game winning goal earlier this season for the Spirit, but has yet to find the back of the net.
In the winding minutes, Chicago pressed to find an equalizer. A bit of chaos into the box led to a late game penalty after a half ball foul on Spirit defender Sam Staab was called. Gautrat converted the penalty kick in stoppage time.
The 1-1 draw bumps the Red Stars up to fourth place with 8 points, while the Spirit still stay in third place, tied on 9 points with Portland Thorns FC. Chicago will have a quick turn around and hit the road to face OL Reign in Tacoma, Washington on June 22. Washington Spirit will face Kansas City NWSL on June 26.
The international break now over, the teams will look to try and build on better play as the regular season continues. The Olympics are about a month away, and the league will not take a break for the summer tournament.