BOYDS, MARYLAND (Sept. 4, 2018) — The National Women’s Soccer League sure knows how to pull a fast one on fans — and teams.
After numerous weather delays and heat cautions, the league cancelled Sunday’s match between the Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC. The two teams — who sit in the bottom two spots of the league — were told to play on Monday.
Spirit and Sky Blue FC Play to Draw
However, for Sky Blue FC, the quick turn-around was not in the players’ favor. Today, on Sept. 4, the team faces the Chicago Red Stars back in New Jersey.
Forget having a day of rest, Sky Blue FC.
However, the last-place club in the league — which has still not won a single match this season — held its own against Washington. After Arielle Shipp scored her first goal since returning from an ACL injury. The game was only Shipp’s second this season.
“I think I was in the right place at the right time,” Shipp said. “I was ready to bounce. I was happy to be there and put it in the back of the net. I love being back. I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I know I still have some work to do, and things to sharpen up with, but I’m just so happy to be back out there.”
“It’s been a long, long journey.”
Shipp said that despite the stressful season, everyone put in 100 percent “all of the time.”
“It’s frustrating when your hard work doesn’t pay off,” Shipp said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this team and everyone for all of the effort they put in all year, from February all the way until now.”
However, Sarah Killion didn’t let the party last long.
With an assist from Madison Tiernan, Killion scored the equalizing goal for Sky Blue FC in the 87th minute, slipping it past Aubrey Bledsoe.
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) September 2, 2018
Bledsoe breaks NWSL save record
However, Bledsoe did not dwell long on the missed save. The Spirit goalkeeper broke the league-leading save record, notching 108 saves this season.
The mark was previously held by Alyssa Naeher — who is currently on international duty with the U.S. Women’s National Team against Chile — who recorded 104 saves in 2014.
In addition to her saves, Bledsoe started 21 matches this season, recording four clean sheets. Her saves garnered a success rate of 78.3 percent. Bledsoe also saved two penalties this season.
What’s Next for Washington
Washington’s season is officially over, leaving the 2018 year with 11 points.
The off-season will be a rebuilding process for the team. While there are players that are expected to return, others will potentially see their time with the club come to an end. During the off-season, the team will look to find a permanent coach.
In August, the club fired Jim Gabarra. Taking his place was Tom Torres, but there has been no word on if he will remain with the club or not.
▷ Full Highlights from our Sunday morning season finale at the Plex. pic.twitter.com/hwjAbMcKpl
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) September 4, 2018