Aubrey Bledsoe makes nine saves in Washington Spirit, Reign FC draw

Aubrey Bledsoe
PHOTO: Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe clears the ball away from danger and Reign FC striker Jodie Taylor on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Photo courtesy of Rachael McKriger/Last Word on Soccer.

Boyds, Maryland (May 4, 2019) — Cali Farquharson didn’t need many words to explain how proud she was of her goalkeeper, Aubrey Bledsoe. The Washington Spirit striker called her goalkeeper a “beast.”

“I wanted to run out there and give her a big hug,” Farquharson said, after the match.

Aubrey Bledsoe makes nine saves in Washington Spirit, Reign FC draw

Bledsoe had a busy night in goal against Reign FC. The 27-year-old goalkeeper from Cincinnati, Ohio, made nine saves. Bledsoe was busy denying eight different Reign FC players. The only player from Reign FC to record two shots on goal was English striker Jodie Taylor.

Bledsoe’s saves kept the Washington Spirit in the match, especially in the first half. Washington was fairly quiet in the first half, on the attacking front. However, on defense, there was plenty of passing back between Bledsoe and her defenders. As for that defense, Tori Huster was out with a left hip injury. That meant the starting defense consisted of three rookies and a one-year NWSL veteran.

“I was proud of the team for the second half performance,” Bledsoe said. “The first half wasn’t our best. We didn’t come out ready to play. We weren’t sharp. They pressed us and we gave the ball away. I take a lot of blame on that one. I think Paige had an incredible game and Andi Sullivan showed why, I think, she deserves to be on the national team.”

“You saw some real fight from us.”

Attacking wise for Washington, Cheyna Matthews recorded two shots on goal. Three other players, including Sullivan, Ashley Hatch and Bailey Feist, recorded shots on goal. However, Michelle Betos made all five saves. After the match, Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said that both teams were smart in the way they played in and around the box.

“We were aggressive once they got into the second and third zones,” Andonovski said. “I felt like we had few very good opportunities. Aubrey was amazing tonight. Some of those saves she made, I don’t know if many goalkeepers could have made those.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Sullivan has the backing of her team: Bledsoe said it after the match that Andi Sullivan deserved to be on the U.S. Women’s National Team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, Jill Ellis did not name her to the roster. To give payback, Sullivan was aggressive throughout the whole match. She commented after the match how she needs to find more leadership. However, she has certainly fulfilled that role and was awarded the captain’s armband because of it.
  2. Filling in World Cup spots: Both teams will be seeing more players leave for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Tonight, each side had two players each gone with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Jodie Taylor will be heading off with England soon and Celia will be traveling with Spain. Cheyna Matthews will likely be on the Jamaican roster. Shea Groom commented afterwards that the Reign FC have plenty of depth and the team is jelling together.
  3. Betos gets in goal because of her form: Lydia Williams is another player likely heading to France for the World Cup. She’ll be joining up with her fellow Australian internationals, but hasn’t been featuring in goal for the Reign much this season, making only one appearance. After the match, Andonovski said that Betos has been in form. “We gave Lydia some minutes so she can stay in form as well, but Michelle has been in great form and is doing a good job,” he said.

What’s Next?

The Spirit will take a short trip up the coast to face Sky Blue FC next Saturday at Yurcak Field. Meanwhile, the Reign FC won’t feature again until May 18. At Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington, the Reign will host Sky Blue.

PHOTO: Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe clears the ball away from danger and Reign FC striker Jodie Taylor on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Photo courtesy of Rachael McKriger/Last Word on Soccer.

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