Sam Lofton and Ashley Herndon of the Spirit Reserves battle Braddock Road’s Allie Wisner for the ball while Marisa Park looks on. (Photo by Larry J. Clark)
It was a good week for local women’s soccer fans. The professional Spirit got back on a winning track. The flagship Washington Spirit Reserves won three games in five days and clinched first place in the W-League’s Northeastern Conference. The Braddock Road Stars Elite got their second win. The ASA Chesapeake Charge went 3-0 in the group stage of the USASA Women’s Open Cup, then lost narrowly in the finals to the New York Athletic Club. On the other hand, ACF Torino USA fell, 2-1, to the New York Fury.
The Washington Spirit Reserves with the Michelle Akers Trophy.
In the conclusion to an exciting weekend of soccer, the USL W-League Washington Spirit Reserves downed the WPSL Houston Aces, 2-0, to claim the first Michelle Akers trophy as the top women’s amateur team in the country. In the third place game, the host ASA Chesapeake Charge defeated the Real Salt Lake Women, 3-0. Both teams are part of the WPSL.
In the semifinals on Friday night, Houston defeated Chesapeake in a 1-1 nailbiter that went to penalty kicks, with the Aces prevailing there, 3-1. Following that, the Reserves held off RSL, 2-0.
History will be made in Gambrills, MD, this weekend, as for the first time ever four champions of US women’s amateur soccer will meet to decide an overall champion, to be awarded the Michelle Akers trophy. Hosted by the Arundel Soccer Association’s Chesapeake Charge, matches will take place at Arundel High School on Friday and Sunday. (The counterpart men’s tournament takes place at the same location on Thursday and Saturday.)
The four representatives are as follows:
ASA Chesapeake Charge – 2013 USASA Amateur Cup Champions
Houston Aces – 2013 USASA Open Cup Champions
Real Salt Lake Women – WPSL representative*
Washington Spirit Reserves – W-League representative*
Any kind of matches between United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League teams and Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) teams are as rare as Abby Wambach missing a point-blank header. (The WPSL broke off from the W-League back in the late 90’s, and there’s been little in the way of rapprochement since then.) To have two such matches – and meaningful matches at that, not just exhibitions – in the same weekend underscores the momentousness of this tournament.
The Chesapeake Charge, Arundel Soccer Association’s elite women’s team, couldn’t have done much better this week.
On Wednesday night, a 5-0 win over the Tidewater Sharks gave them a 6-0-2 record on the season, good enough to secure one of the two playoff spots in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s South Atlantic Division.
Then on Thursday the team flew to Kansas City to take part in the United States Adult Soccer Association’s National Women’s Championship in the amateur division. By mid-day Sunday, after a grueling four matches in three days, captains Laura Kane and Jess Hnatiuk were hoisting the championship trophy.