The NWSL Fall Series continued Saturday with two teams from the Northeast pod squaring off. The Washington Spirit took down the Chicago Red Stars for their first win of the competition.
Here's what to know and see from the day's action:
- Washington Spirit 2, Chicago Red Stars 1: Washington Spirit entered the match having a previous Fall Series match under their belt from last week -- a loss to Sky Blue FC. The home side appeared to slowly build into their game, but not before Chicago would set the tempo and score a goal in the 23rd minute from rookie Sarah Luebbert. Chicago appeared to have much of the momentum before Savannah McCaskill left the game shortly before halftime after being issued a red card. The Spirit would equalize in the 71st minute on a goal from Bayley Feist, and a fatigued Chicago defense were stretched during stoppage time as Jessie Scarpa netted the game-winner for Washington.
Sarah Luebbert scores first NWSL goal
Chicago's early play was probably the best example of the soccer the team intends to play moving forward. A good link-up play started by McCaskill, who played a ball through to Kealia Watt. She was able to get a precise cross into the box to a running Luebbert. Take a look:
Bayley Feist equalizes
The home side eventually broke through on goal in the 71st minute. The Spirit had numbers in the box with Feist able to slot the ball away for the equalizer.
Scarpa nets game-winner
Washington was able to nail down the win thanks to some late game heroics between Crystal Thomas and Scarpa. Thomas made strong moves in the box to send a spiraling cross though to Scarpa, who beat her defender on a run into the box.
Let's rate some of the notable performances on the day, with one being the worst and 10 being perfection:
Kealia Watt, Chicago Red Stars: The NWSL veteran is in her first season with Chicago. Her Challenge Cup ended without a goal, but her movement on the ball for Chicago provided offensive looks in dangerous spaces. On Saturday, she set up Chicago's first goal of the Fall Series, and her first assist as a Red Star. RATING: 8
Kumi Yokoyama, Washington Spirit: Washington was initially unable to take advantage of the player advantage, but slotting Yokoyama into the midfield changed some things for the home side. Her ability win challenges and retain the ball began to isolate an otherwise very organized Chicago midfield. RATING: 8
Aubrey Bledsoe, Washington Spirit: Facing an active attack from Chicago in the first half that that saw her team down after 20 minutes, the goalkeeper came up huge down the stretch for her team with a strong kick save one-on-one against Red Stars Dani Rhodes to keep the match level. RATING: 7.5
A look ahead
Fall Series will see these two teams will meet again Sept. 26, when Washington travels to Chicago. Here's what's ahead for the Fall Series on CBS:
North Carolina Courage v Houston Dash, Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (CBS & CBS All Access): Two competitive teams will likely put on a show with the 2019 NWSL champions take on the 2020 Challenge Cup champions.
The NWSL Fall Series will continue through Oct. 17. You can stream many matches on CBS All Access.