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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
ESPN
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Pugh, Spirit spoil Sky Blue FC’s playoff hopes
Sky Blue FC has been eliminated from playoff contention
Mallory Pugh and Whitney Church scored late in Washington's 2-1 comeback win over Sky Blue FC. (Photo credit: Robyn W. McNeil/isiphotos.com)
Mallory Pugh and Whitney Church scored late in Washington's 2-1 comeback win over Sky Blue FC. (Photo credit: Robyn W. McNeil/isiphotos.com)

Rookie forward Mallory Pugh scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute after Whitney Church equalized in the 75th minute as the Washington Spirit came from behind to beat Sky Blue FC 2-1on Sunday night.

With the result, Sky Blue FC (9-11-2, 29 points) has been eliminated from playoff contention. They needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Washington moves into ninth place with a 5-13-4 record and 19 points.

Pugh broke the 1-1 deadlock with her fourth goal of the season. Lindsay Agnew earned her first NWSL assist on the play.

Pugh did not start the match and was listed as probable with a right hip flexor strain. She entered in the 62 minute and scored with her only shot of the match.

 

Church tied the game in the 75th minute when she headed in a corner kick from Shelina Zadorsky.

It’s the first goal of the season for Church and the first assist of the season for Zadorsky.

 

Spirit goalkeeper DiDi Haracic made seven saves in the win. Sky Blue FC took 21 total shots, but Haracic kept her team in the match.

In the 33rd minute, she turned away a close header by Hayes.

 

And then in the game’s final minutes, with Sky Blue desperate to turn around the result, she made back-to-back saves vs. Kelley O’Hara and Daphne Corboz. Church also came up big in the sequence, blocking a shot from O’Hara after Haracic’s first save.

 

 

Forward Maya Hayes scored in the 43rd minute to give Sky Blue the 1-0 lead.

Sam Kerr sent a pass to Hayes in the box and Hayes collided with Haracic. With the goalkeeper still on the ground, the ball bounced lose in the box — off Kerr and several Spirit defenders. Hayes got to her feet and scored. Haracic remained down on the play, but stayed in the game.

Kerr came into the game in search of her record-breaking 17th goal this season, but could not get on the scoresheet. She’ll get her next shot at the record on September 24 when Sky Blue hosts the North Carolina Courage.

 

The Spirit will next be in action on September 23 when they host the Breakers.

 

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