Spirit forward Mallory Pugh made her NWSL debut, but FC Kansas City midfielder Alexa Newfield’s goal was the difference as Kansas City beat Washington 1-0 in front of a crowd of 3,714 at Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Newfield’s goal came in the 39th minute as Gibbons served a ball into the penalty area. Forward Sydney Leroux tried a bicycle kick, but couldn’t connect cleanly on it and it bounced to Newfield, who sent a right-footed laser past Washington Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.
Pugh, 19, subbed into the match in the 54th minute, becoming the youngest American and third youngest player ever in NWSL history. The U.S. women’s national team rising star recently joined the Spirit after leaving UCLA to turn pro.
In the 56th minute, Pugh had a chance for a goal on what would’ve been her first touch but couldn’t get on the end of a pass from midfielder Kristie Mewis.
Mewis nearly scored twice in the match, but her 24th minute shot rocketed off the crossbar and her 60th minute free kick was stopped by defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who peeled off the wall and blocked Mewis’ shot with her chest.
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made six saves to earn the shutout for FC Kansas City, her 35th career shutout, the most in NWSL history.