Quick Spirit-Sky Blue thoughts

I went to the SoccerPlex today with one question: “Is Sky Blue for real?” I left with many more questions: Why did the two Sky Blue players whose combined age is 74 cover more ground than the rest of the team? Yes, we know running is Christie Rampone’s thing, but Tasha Kai was left isolated and trying to press the entire Spirit team for much of the game. After an hour, she started coming over the sideline for water. She may have drawn a foul by simply falling down out of exhaustion. She said, in good humor after the game, … Continue reading Quick Spirit-Sky Blue thoughts

Washington 1-0 Sky Blue: Lightning strikes

I hope no Washington Spirit players are expecting a nice, happy training session when they get back to work next week just because they pulled off a 1-0 win over Sky Blue on Saturday. “About the 60th minute, I was already¬†thinking about training and I wouldn’t know where to start, because there were about 200 things you would want to touch on,” coach Mark Parsons said. “Last week, when there were a few slip-ups, that’s normal.” This was not. Goalkeeper Kelsey Wys might get a pass, having stood her ground against a 21-shot onslaught, nine on goal. Maybe Crystal Dunn, … Continue reading Washington 1-0 Sky Blue: Lightning strikes

Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Farewell to Lori Lindsey

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 … Continue reading Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Farewell to Lori Lindsey

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Amen

Sometimes, progress is measured in small steps for individuals.¬†That was the case in the Spirit’s season finale, where Stephanie Ochs at last got on the scoresheet. I had seen Ochs twice in practice during the week, working various finishing scenarios with both feet. While the rest of the team stretched, Ochs made run after run onto Lloyd Yaxley’s crosses. Mark Parsons told me Ochs had been begging for this sort of extra practice for a while, but the schedule just wasn’t conducive to it. With a rare eight-day gap between games, the coaching staff was happy to oblige. But it’s … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Amen

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: The brief recap

One badly battered team was slightly better than the other badly battered team. A couple of calls — the lone goal looked offside, one likely handball in the box went uncalled — might have skewed the game the other way, but they didn’t. There. That’s your recap. More detail? OK, just a little … – It’s fair to say the Spirit aren’t playing with a lot of confidence right now. This game was better than the last two, but they still only forced Jill Loyden to make one save. – The 4-4-2 experiment wasn’t bad, but I think the Spirit … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: The brief recap

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: The final third

For two-thirds of the game at Yurcak Soup Bowl last night, the Washington Spirit controlled two-thirds of the field. The last-place team in the NWSL turned the first-place team (albeit a team weakened by key absences) into a counterattacking team on its home grass. Toni Pressley had a breakthrough game in central defense, keeping everything under control. The midfield of Julia Roberts, Lori Lindsey and Diana Matheson had the better of the action, moving the ball forward with confidence. But the Spirit simply could not convert in the final third of the field or the final third of the game. … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: The final third

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Welcome back, Gabarra

“I was here really early so I didn’t go in the wrong locker room,” said Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra, the only head coach in the 10-year history of the Washington Freedom. He chatted with Washington Spirit assistant Kris Ward, who coached in the Freedom’s once-sprawling club structure, as he strolled to the bench. He raved about the Maryland SoccerPlex facility that hosted the Freedom from 2004 onward and still bore a couple of its logos until a few weeks ago. And he watched his Sky Blue team beat the Spirit 2-1, remaining unbeaten on the season. Gabarra’s team had … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Welcome back, Gabarra