BOYDS – Home field advantage worked again for the Washington Spirit in their 2 to 1 overtime victory against the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals Friday.
The win paved the road to Houston for the Spirit, where they will play the Western New York Flash for the national championship Oct. 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Spirit defender and team captain Ali Krieger opened the door in the 36th minute with a header into the net off a pass from fellow defender Shelina Zadorsky.
Washington (13-5-3) held the lead until the 81st minute when the Red Stars’ Casey Short assisted Christen Press on a slot shot needled past Spirit goal keeper Kelsey Wys.
With the game tied, both kicked it into overdrive in an effort to score one more goal and avoid overtime play.
Press nearly accomplished that feat with a shot that ricocheted off the cross bar.
However, Spirit forward Francisca Ordega sealed the game, closing the door on the Red Stars with a goal at the 111th minute.
Spirit players moved the ball to each other downfield like a well-choreographed dance before Christine Nairn, on a give-and-go, crossed the ball from her right to the left, setting up a hard-charging Ordega for the tapper into the left corner of the net.
The victory sealed Washington’s first-ever berth in the league finals. The Spirit shut out Western New York 3-0 April 29 in Elma, N.Y. and tied the Flash 1-1 Sept. 3 in Boyds.