Spirit, Sky Blue FC draw 1-1
Bledsoe set the new single-season saves record in the game
Sky Blue's Shea Groom (left) and Sarah Killion celebrate Killion's goal vs. the Spirit. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)
Sky Blue's Shea Groom (left) and Sarah Killion celebrate Killion's goal vs. the Spirit. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)

The Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday morning at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. ET Saturday night, but rescheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday morning after lightning forced the postponement of the game.

Sky Blue FC midfielder Sarah Killion scored the equalizer in the 87th minute after Spirit forward Arielle Ship put the Spirit ahead in the 71st minute.

Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made five saves in the game, bringing her season total to 108 with a save percentage of 78.3%. In the game, she broke Alyssa Naeher’s single-season save record of 106, set in 2014 with the Boston Breakers. That season, Naeher allowed 53 goals in 24 games. Bledsoe allowed 30 goals in 21 games.

It’s the final game of the season for the Spirit, who finished the season with a 2-17-5 record (11 points). Ship’s goal snapped a streak of seven games without a goal, and the draw snapped a 10-game losing streak. Sky Blue FC are now 0-16-6 (6 points) with two games left to play and still in search of their first win.

Sky Blue FC will have to play another game on Tuesday, their second in three days. Tuesday’s game will be in Chicago vs. the Red Stars. A win can keep the Red Stars from clinching a playoff berth and make Saturday’s game between the Red Stars and Utah Royals FC a meeting with the final playoff spot on the line.

Bledsoe wasted no time getting to work on setting the record, making a leaping stop on a shot by Madison Tiernan in the 5th minute.

Sky Blue FC’s best chance in the first half came on a penalty kick attempt in the 27th minute after Killion was fouled in the box by Tiffany McCarty. Shea Groom took the spot kick and sent Bledsoe diving the wrong way, but her shot hit off the crossbar and the score remained 0-0.

Bledsoe set the record with a save in the 47th minute on a shot by Jen Hoy. She followed it up with her final save of the morning a minute later on a shot by Groom.

The Spirit got their goal in the 71st minute, their first score since July 7. Ship, in just her second game of the season since returning from an ACL tear, scored her first goal since August 4 of last year — also against Sky Blue FC — and her second professional goal.

Havana Solaun won the ball at midfield, and quickly passed to Ship, racing down the right side of the field. Ship’s initial shot was saved by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, as was Francisca Ordega’s shot off the rebound. Ordega and Ship persisted though, and when Sheridan again saved Ordega’s shot, Ship was in the right spot to knock in the rebound.

After the goal, Sky Blue FC had a few free kick opportunities, but eventually found the game-tying goal in the 87th minute. Following a throw-in, Killion passed it to Tiernan, making a run to the endline on the right side of the attack. Tiernan crossed it into the box and Groom let the ball go between in her legs, dummying it to Killion, making a run into the box. Killion struck the ball one-time and with power, over Bledsoe to make it 1-1.

The goal is Killion’s second of the season and second in three games.

Sheridan made five saves in the game, bringing her season total to 97, giving her a shot at breaking Bledsoe’s new record with two games to go.

Sky Blue FC controlled possession in the match (59.7% to 40.3%) and completed 78.7% of their passes. Sky Blue took 20 shots, six on goal. The Spirit had 10 shots, six on goal and completed 64.6% of their passes.

Both teams were missing a number of players due to the game being played over the FIFA international break. The Spirit had five national team replacement players on the roster for the game: Zoe Clark, Megan CrossonMcCarty, Alexa Newfield and Morgan Ruhl. Sky Blue FC had three: Eliza Bona, Gabby Cuevas and Nickolette Driesse. Estefanía Banini (Argentina), Mallory Eubanks (U.S. U-23), DiDi Haracic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ashley Hatch (U.S. U-23), Rose Lavelle (United States), Mallory Pugh (United States), Rebecca Quinn (Canada) and Andi Sullivan (U.S. U-23) all missed the game for the Spirit. Sky Blue FC were without Imani Dorsey (U.S. U-23), Katie Johnson (Mexico), Carli Lloyd (United States), Savannah McCaskill (U.S. U-23) and Raquel Rodriguez (Costa Rica).

After Tuesday’s road game vs. the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC will close out the season at home vs. the Orlando Pride.

official nwsl sponsors
nike logo
thorne logo
lifetime logo
budweiser logo