The Washington Spirit were 258 minutes into a 360-minute homestand. Given how rarely they lose at home, going into the series twelve standings points weren’t out of the question and any fewer than eight would be a serious disappointment.
This was also the first weekend without the Olympic-bound players, a period you would think the Spirit would be dominant given head coach Jim Gabarra’s claim that his team has the deepest bench in the league.
But here they were 78 minutes into a scoreless tie against a struggling FC Kansas City team likely ending up with a mere four points in three games with the toughest opponent yet to play.
Then came the 79th minute. Caprice Dydasco in only her second game of the season sent a long ball toward the right corner. Christine Nairn made a Matheson-esque run to get to the ball before it went out, then sent it to Dydasco near the top right corner of the box. She sent it into the box where Francisca Ordega tried a bicycle kick but went to the ground. The ball came to Joanna Lohman facing goal, but she tripped before she could do more than push the ball slightly toward goal. Kansas City’s Yael Averbuch tried to clear it but sent it right to Ordega, who quickly stepped to her right and sent it toward goal with her right foot, nutmegging a defender whose leg redirected it into the lower left corner, away from a lunging Nicole Barnhart.
It was a flukey goal, but it changed the complexion of the game, the homestand, and possibly the season.