I’m not going to do a big recap of Sky Blue’s 1-0 win over Washington for the following reasons:
1. Western New York held Chicago to a draw in the later game, clinching a playoff spot for the Spirit despite the loss. (Former Spirit Reserves goalkeeper DiDi Haracic, essentially the Flash’s fourth-string keeper, got the start.) Sadly for Sky Blue, which counterattacked beautifully in this game and got solid defensive performances from Sophie Schmidt and Christie Rampone, that result knocks them out.
2. Spirit coach Mark Parsons summed up the team’s performance with elegant simplicity: “The occasion got to us a little bit.” More specifically, “everyone wanted to hit that final pass.” He’s right. The night was riddled with ambitious passes that skidded away so quickly that Canadian artificial turf apologists will surely use the video to claim the ball is tough to control on all surfaces, not just FieldTurf.
3. Broken finger. Can’t type much.
So the lasting memory of the evening will be Lori Lindsey’s retirement. The Spirit put together a nice video tribute with comments from all over — former coaches such as Clyde Watson and Kris Ward, former teammates such as Becky Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe (the funniest of a fairly witty bunch), even Mia Hamm.
Fans outside Washington or recent women’s soccer fans might not realize how important Washington has been to Lindsey (and vice versa). In the years between the WUSA and WPS, she slogged it out with the Washington Freedom (held together by Jim Gabarra, now the Sky Blue coach, who graciously congratulated Lindsey before the game). She played on this field in front of a couple hundred people at times. In those years, she pushed her way into the national team pool and wound up playing in the 2011 World Cup.
She talked a bit about those years in the postgame interview, after she signed autographs for everyone who hung around. I’m uploading the entire audio here and may add parts of it to the debut SportsMyriad podcast Sunday or Monday. Stay tuned.