Tag Archives: Stephanie Labbé

Spirit get first win of season, 4-3 over Sky Blue

Franny Ordega had a career match to lead the Spirit to their first win of 2017.

Franny Ordega had a career match to lead the Spirit to their first win of 2017.

Driving to the Soccerplex on Saturday, I was already composing this article in expectation of another lackluster performance. “Should the Spirit change their name? Spirit is the one thing that they’ve seemed to lack this season.” I was also going to note that Francisca Ordega seemed too fragile for this league, too often being bumped off the ball.

Shows what I know.

An almost unrecognizable team showed up Saturday evening, especially in the first half: completing passes, making runs off the ball, and showing an intensity that had been lacking in their previous three matches. And far from being a fragile flower, Ordega was muscling defenders off the ball in what some were calling the best NWSL performance of 2017 as she played a role in all four Washington goals: scoring two, assisting on one, and contributing to an own goal with a shot across the goalmouth.
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Spirit vs. Thorns: Battle for 1st ends in scoreless draw

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé is pleased that the Spirit have three clean sheets on the season.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé is pleased that the Spirit have three clean sheets on the season.

The Washington Spirit are still waiting for production from their bevy of forwards. Other than a late tap-in last week from Katie Stengel on a ball that looked to be going in already, all the goals have come from defenders or midfielders. Against the Portland Thorns, the failure to get the ball in the net cost them two standings points in a match when they were clearly the better team on the night.

The good news – surprising given the past for both the Spirit and head coach Jim Gabarra, whose teams have been much more known for scoring than prevention thereof – is that the defense has been stalwart, allowing just one goal in four matches and currently riding a 204-minute shutout streak. But for a perfect sequence of passes that led to a Maya Hayes goal for Sky Blue in the 66th minute of that match, they could have four clean sheets instead of just three.
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Spirit start off NWSL’s season 4 with 1-0 win over Breakers

With all the offensive weapons at their disposal, how would you expect the Washington Spirit to score their first goal of 2016? Crystal Dunn on a steal and a breakaway? Christine Nairn from distance? Katie Stengel? Estefania Banini? No, it was Joanna Lohman – at 33 the oldest player on the team – in the 3rd minute on a bicycle kick. “It was honestly a dream come true,” said Lohman after the game. “Hands down the best goal I’ve ever scored. I can officially retire now.”

Washington managed to make the lone tally hold up against a rebuilding Boston Breakers team, not that the latter didn’t have their chances despite an official scoreline of just 2 shots on goal.
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Morace Resigns as Canadian Head Coach Following Disastrous WWC

Good news? Bad news?
Head coach Carolina Morace and her staff, including assistant coach and former Canadian national team midfielder Andrea Neil, resigned Wednesday, July 20 during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 debriefing and analysis meeting with the Canadian Soccer Association and other stakeholders.

Under Morace’s guidance since February 2009, Canada rose to their highest ever ranking of 6th in the world, all while claiming first place trophies at the Cyprus Cup (twice), the Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo (Four Nations Tournament in Brazil) and the 2010 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and defeating quality opponents like England and Sweden.

Ben Rycroft of It’s Called Football points out that between January 1, 2009 and June 25, 2011, Canada played more matches than Brazil, France, Germany, Japan and USA. Additionally, the team spent 114 days of 2011 training overseas in various camps.

Based on these results and preparations, Big Red headed into the WWC seemingly poised to capture its best ever results, even medal.

As it turned out, the team gravely fell short of expectations, losing all three games and failing to advance past the group stage for the fourth time. Canada’s best result at the WWC was in 2003 when they upset China in the quarter-finals and eventually placed fourth overall.

After a closely fought 2-1 match against Germany that featured a stunning free kick goal by Christine Sinclair that snapped the host’s 622-minute WWC shutout streak, Canada lost its composure and was hounded by France 4-0, and fell 1-0 to Nigeria. Canada finished last in the 16-team tournament and registered three shots on goal.

Since the loss to France, murmurings began to circulate of Morace potentially stepping down, but she bluntly stated, “Yes, I want to continue,” following the match against Nigeria.

All else indicated that Morace would remain as head coach. The Globe and Mail‘s Stephen Brunt said of the dynamic between Morace and the CSA, “This is a very tense relationship. It’s a bad marriage at this point, or at least a very fractious marriage, but it is going to continue.”

With Morace’s sudden resignation last week, CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli told The Canadian Press, “Yes, I would say we were surprised.”

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Canada Puts Away 8 Goals Against Guyana. And Sinclair is All Sorts of Awesome.


With a convincing 8-0 victory over Guyana, Canada has officially qualified for the semi-final stage of the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers. The first ever match up between the 2 nations featured a quadruple by Sinclair and a line up that proves head coach Carolina Morace isn’t afraid to have her youngest players on the field at the same time.

-Morace made 6 changes to the starting line up that faced Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night. Canada started off against Guyana with Stephanie Labbé* in goal, Chelsea Stewart*, Sophie Schmidt, Candace Chapman and Rhian Wilkinson (Robyn Gayle, 46′) in defence, Desiree Scott*, Kaylyn Kyle (Brooke McCalla, 54′) and Carmelina Moscato* in midfield, and Kara Lang*, Christine Sinclair and Christina Julien* (Jonelle Filigno, 39′) up top. This was Labbé’s second cap and first ever start. Schmidt, who normally plays as a central midfielder for Canada, was shifted to the left side of central defence in order to rest Emily Zurrer, who required stitches after taking an elbow to the side of the head. Diana Matheson, an integral part of Canada’s midfield, was also rested and perhaps as a precaution after picking up a yellow card in the first game. With Filigno being subbed on at the end of the first half, both of Canada’s youngest players (age 20 and the other being Stewart) were on the field. All 20 players on Canada’s roster have now picked up minutes during the tournament, while 17 different players have started.  (* Indicates players new to the starting line up).

-With only 1 goal scored in their first game, Canada was looking to pick up the numbers this time around.

  • 15′ into the game, Julien got things going when she ran onto a Wilkinson throw in and placed a left footed shot to the near post for the opening goal. The Guyanese backline never challenged Julien, so she just let the throw in roll across the penalty area before finding her mark.
  • The first of Sinclair’s 4 goals came in the 34′ off a Canadian corner kick. The ball bounced out of the gloves of Guyanese ‘keeper, Catherine Kobelka, as she attempted to make the catch. Lang’s presence prevented Kobelka from smothering the rebound, and Sinclair tapped the ball in with her right foot.
  • By the end of the first half, Guyana had kept the score to a respectable 2-0, but the floodgates would open right from the start of the second half. Just 46 seconds in, Lang ran to the end line as she wrestled her way past a defender and somehow managed to keep the ball in play. She then cut it back to a wide open Filigno to slot in the shot. Interestingly enough, the first 2 goal celebrations were somewhat muted, but beginning with this goal the team finally seemed to be at ease.

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Interviews with Kara Lang and Stephanie Labbé

Prior to Canada’s September 30 friendly against China at BMO Field, several players took the time to speak with All White Kit. Here’s what they had to say:


Kara Lang
The former UCLA Bruin entered college as the #1 recruit. She set UCLA freshman records in goals and assists (17g, 6a), both of which were integral to her team’s 22-2-2 record in 2005 and their appearance at the NCAA College Cup Final that year. Her soccer potential was spotted early on as she made her Senior National Team debut at the age of 15 and signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the W-League as a 16 year-old. Following several U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cup appearances, Lang has represented the Senior squad at two WWCs, including a 4th place finish at the 2003 tournament, and the quarter-finals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Lang chatted with All White Kit about sponsorship deals, recovering from injuries, World Cup qualifying, and what to expect from China.


All White Kit: I’ve noticed that you and Stephanie Labbé have been tweeting about Umbro lately. Talk about that sponsorship and how you’re working with them.

Kara Lang: Recently, a bunch of us actually signed with Umbro and set up a deal, so they’re sponsoring us and giving us free boots. We’re all really excited about it and we’re happy to work with their company. It’s nice to be with a company that’s so enthusiastic about soccer and so supportive of us and our goals as players.

AWK: Do you know who else has signed with them as well?

KL: Carmelina Moscato, Emily Zurrer, Diana Matheson, Melissa Tancredi, Stephanie Labbé, and Brittany Timko.

AWK: You’ve recovered from last year’s ACL tear, but then you had a bit of a foot injury during the latter part of the Whitecaps’ season that kept you from playing. Is everything okay now? Back to full training and playing?

KL: Yeah, my foot’s completely healed. The stress fracture healed really well, so that’s good. I’m still kind of going through the recovery process with my knee. I’m about 100%, but now I’m kind of getting used to being back on the field and doing my best to crack the starting line up.

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