NWSL: Spirit take two-goal lead, hold off Royals

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Andi Sullivan and Ouleymata Sarr each scored first-half goals to lead the Washington Spirit to a 2-1 victory over the Utah Royals on Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

Washington (2-1-0, 6 points) won its second straight match while generating 17 total shots and tallying six shots on goal.

Utah (1-2-0, 3 points) got a second-half goal from Ally Sentnor but could not fully erase the two-goal deficit.

Ashley Hatch missed the match due to a hip injury, depriving the Spirit of one of their top attackers. Still, Hatch’s absence didn’t keep Washington from putting Utah in an early hole with an energetic attack.

The Spirit seized a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute when Sullivan threaded a penalty kick inside the right post. Croix Bethune got taken down in the box, leading to the penalty kick.

Sarr extended Washington’s lead with a 30th minute goal. She leapt over a defender and headed home a deep cross from Trinity Rodman.

Utah finished a first-half advantage in total shots, edging the Spirit 4-3. But the Royals placed just one ball on frame.

Washington narrowly missed out on gaining a three-goal lead in the 57th minute when Casey Krueger blasted a shot off the right post. It came during a sequence where Utah blocked four different shots to force a corner kick.

The Royals drew one back in the 71st minute. Sentnor dribbled around a defender and blasted a right-footer from outside the box, slotting the ball inside the left post. Dana Foederer recorded the assist.

Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury made five saves, while her counterpart Mandy Haught made four for Utah, which was outshot 17-13.

–Field Level Media

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