Tag Archives: crystal dunn

I went to the protests, and a soccer match broke out

Megan Rapinoe and Laura Harvey talk with the press after the match.

Megan Rapinoe and Laura Harvey talk with the press after the match.

For the second year in a row, the Seattle Reign’s late-season visit to the Soccerplex is overshadowed by happenings outside the match. You can find a zillion recaps and reactions to the sideshow online, both from the sources that cover the NWSL on a regular basis and the ones who only cover the league when something embarrassing or controversial happens.

You can read Spirit owner Bill Lynch’s explanation of why he rescheduled the anthem to prevent Megan Rapinoe from kneeling during the national anthem over at Equalizer Soccer. And I’ve uploaded Rapinoe’s fifteen-minute post-game interview – of which less than a minute is about the game – to Youtube. Caitlin Buckley also has a transcription of key parts of it.

And Steven Goff of the Washington Post has a day-after followup.

I’m still formulating my own opinion on the situation and don’t want to focus on that at this point, anyhow, but I will note on a night that Lynch’s team ensured a home playoff game and the most successful regular season of any Washington team ever, thanks in considerable part to him there’s hardly any attention being paid to that. But I’ll try to remedy that from here on out.
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Spirit Farm Teams: Near Futures 3, Far Futures 1

Wake Forest rising junior Maddie Huster (left) keeps an eye on Osbourn Park High School rising senior Myra Konte as Ashley Herndon (far left) looks on.

Wake Forest rising junior Maddie Huster (left) keeps an eye on Osbourn Park High School rising senior Myra Konte as Ashley Herndon (far left) looks on.

When the ageless Joanna Lohman was the general manager of the Washington Freedom’s elite amateur team, she decided they should be dubbed the “Futures” rather than the “Reserves”. Applying that to the Washington Spirit’s two WPSL teams, the Reserves and the Academy, you can think of them as the “Near Futures” and the “Far Futures.”

The Reserves have players available for professional appearances like emergency goalkeeper DiDi Haracic and draft pick Alli Murphy, as well as a healthy share of the U-23 national team roster. The Academy, meanwhile, have five players on the U-20 national team – who were not available for this game – along with a bevy of talented players of similar ages or even younger. In fact, head coach Larry Best started five players who have yet to play in college and subbed in three more.

Despite the age difference, it was an intensely competitive match. The Reserves had the talent, but the Academy had been brought up in the Braddock Road style and worked together extremely well. Both teams put on a demonstration of quality possession soccer.
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Spirit fall to physical Seattle, 2-1

In a sane world, the main topic of this writeup would be the two sensational goals scored by Jess Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe to give Seattle the win.

Instead, it all started when the Spirit announcer messed up and announced Hope Solo’s as #2 instead of #1, then quickly corrected himself. Spirit season ticket holders have gotten used to these little goofs, whether it’s introducing Robyn Gayle as Crystal Gayle, getting Ali Krieger’s number wrong, saying Mike Jorden is the head coach, or failing to announce Crystal Dunn at all.

Then early in the game, Seattle owner Bill Predmore was at the Reign bench and refused to leave when asked despite it being explicitly against the NWSL rules for him to be there. Reportedly, he threw away the phone of the poor Spirit volunteer who asked him to leave. (I’d really like to hear about some repercussions for Predmore here, particularly since some of the activity on the field by his players was at about the same level of decorum.)

Meanwhile, on the field 15 minutes in Megan Rapinoe got around right flank defender Whitney Church to send a cross in. Katherine Reynolds was able to head the ball clear at the goalmouth, but it fell right to a wide open Fishlock, who had plenty of time to collect the ball and fire it toward goal from about 25 out. It deflected slightly off a Spirit defender and went into the upper right corner past a leaping Ashlyn Harris.

Ten minutes later Reign forward Merritt Mathias won a fight for the ball in the corner of the box and kicked it out to Megan Rapinoe, who, just as wide open as Fishlock, fired it into the upper left-hand corner past a leaping Harris.
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Spirit win before record crowd on Dunn hat trick

Perhaps the Washington Spirit should start advertising games at the Soccerplex as “The Crystal Dunn Show.” Tonight she put on a clinic before a record crowd of 5,418, scoring a hat trick before halftime – including a header – to lead her team to a 3-1 win over the Houston Dash.

She regained the league scoring lead (twelve total) after Beverly Yanez briefly caught up to her earlier in the day. (Incidentally, how many minutes do those two have with the USWNT this year? Twelve – the sum total of Dunn’s playing time in 2015.)
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Spirit dampen Reign, 3-0

It was a clash of streaks: the Washington Spirit had yet to lose at home in 2015 (4-0-1) , while the Seattle Reign were undefeated in their last 8 matches (5-0-3). With the Spirit missing both their WWC champions (Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger) and their Nigerians, I thought a tie would be an accomplishment. On the other hand, it would be the first chance for Diana Matheson to team up with Crystal Dunn as a forward, plus Seattle would be missing their champs (Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe) as well as key defender Kendall Fletcher, who was out with an injury. As it turns out, the moral of the story seems to be not to take your streak to Maureen Hendricks Field if you want to keep it going.

Before an all-time record Soccerplex crowd of 5,413, Washington dismantled Seattle, 3-0, for the most lopsided win in the Spirit’s history. (The previous women’s professional soccer record for Maureen Hendricks Field was 5,149, set on May 3, 2009, when Hope Solo made her first appearance at the ‘plex as her St. Louis Athletica took on the Washington Freedom.)
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Spirit steal win from Sky Blue, 1-0

It wasn’t that long ago that a soccer version of Murphy’s Law seemed to govern the Washington Spirit: anything that could go wrong would, and even playing well didn’t ensure success. Playing as badly as they did Saturday night would have been a disaster on the scoreboard. Instead, in second-half stoppage time Crystal Dunn found Francisca Ordega with a long ball over the top that left Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron in no-man’s land, too far out to protect the goal but not far enough out to get to the ball. Ordega collected the ball, dodged past Cameron, and put it away in the open net.

Head coach Mark Parsons, normally loquacious, was terse and pointed in the post-game interview. When asked why he only subbed twice in a game where the Spirit were struggling for chances, he said, “I couldn’t make more subs because I couldn’t decide who deserved to come off more. Because it was bad. Really bad. And they know it. About the 60th minute, I’m already thinking about training and I wouldn’t know where to start, because there were about 200 things you would want to touch on.”
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Spirit down defending champs in home opener, 3-1

Double goal-scorer Christine Nairn collects a throw-in from Alex Singer.

Double goal-scorer Christine Nairn collects a throw-in from Alex Singer.


The Washington Spirit won their season home opener for the first time in team history, downing the defending NWSL champion FC Kansas City, 3-1, on two goals from Christine Nairn and one from Crystal Dunn before a packed crowd of 4,136.
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NWSL Week in Review: Five Things (Week 2)

When you read an article like this in the New York Times of all places, the first reaction – understandably – is straight up anger. Because if you’re reading this, it’s highly likely you have a passion for women’s soccer, and when you see misinformation, or more importantly, half-truths, about a cause that is near and dear to your heart, it hurts. You know the history, you know how hard people have worked to make this version of women’s professional soccer in this country work, and that it’s going to take time to succeed in this culture.

As poorly written as it is, though (hey, New York Times, I can write in proper sentences if you want to hire me), it’s hard to discount completely the overall premise, which is that the NWSL – while far from desperate – faces an uphill struggle to become somewhere where the best women’s soccer players in the world can draw a decent salary to play the game professionally.

And the juxtaposition was striking on Saturday in Maryland as Washington and Kansas City played what I thought was the most entertaining NWSL game I’d seen in two seasons, not just with the goals and chances, but with the technical display of the players. There were a few defensive miscues and poor touches, sure, but some of the best soccer players in the world showed why they are.

At the end of the day, 2,577 came to see it. Should we care? Probably not as much as people say we should, but you wish people could see what you see. Maybe someday they will. Until then, we’ll just keep fighting the good fight, and watching the beautiful game.

Without further ado, five things we learned from the second weekend of the NWSL campaign:

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