Spirit Reserves Defeat Colorado Pride 2-1 With Late Winner As Laval Comets Claim 3rd Place
Washington Spirit Reserves 2, Colorado Pride 1
Soccer News: Yanara Aedo Munoz scored twice – including the game-winner in the 89th minute – as the Washington Spirit Reserves claimed their first W-League Championship with a 2-1 victory against the Colorado Pride at Desjardins Stadium Sunday.
Aedo Munoz, who also scored Washington’s goal in its 1-0 semifinal victory against the Quebec Dynamo ARSQ, was named W-League Championship MVP. Regular-season MVP Tara Andrews scored the lone goal for the Pride, who reached the final in only their second W-League season.
“In any game in soccer you love that finish, and it happened to be us, and that’s fantastic,” Washington Head Coach Kati Jo Spisak said, “A lot of the players have been through the system and for a lot of them, this is their third try at a championship. I’m just thrilled for them.
“In the semifinal we didn’t play very well, so our sole focus was on how we were going to play, and the girls executed it today, and you could see it in our play.”
Washington completed an undefeated season after capturing the Southeastern Conference title at 9-0-3 to advance to the 21st W-League Championship.
The winning goal came as the game appeared headed to overtime. Second-half sub Ashley Herndon worked the ball past a pair of defenders down the right wing and found Imani Dorsey at the top of the box. Dorsey worked the give-and-go perfectly and returned the ball to Herndon breaking toward the end line, and she found Aedo Munoz streaking toward the near post for the clinical finish.
The goal came only two minutes after Colorado came excruciatingly close to taking the lead, as Renee Hurd’s driven header deflected off the left post and out. Kaitlyn Johnson also had a golden opportunity for the Pride in the 84th minute, but her-one timer after a run behind the Washington defense sailed just over the bar.
The Pride had the first chance of the match through Johnson in the third minute, but Washington goalkeeper Caroline Casey was in position to make the save. Washington began to dictate possession early, with Colorado relying more on the counter-attack of its speedy forwards.
The quick-strike strategy paid off for the Pride in the 14th minute when Andrews beat Washington’s Andi Sullivan to a long ball from Erin Gunther, and lofted a volley over Casey to make it 1-0. Texas A&M freshman Ally Watt nearly doubled the Pride’s lead in the 25th minute, surprising Casey with a long cross that Casey had to tip off the crossbar.
Washington found the equalizer a minute later as Amber Stobbs carried the ball down the right wing and sent a cross to the center. Dorsey picked up the loose ball and sent it wide left to Aedo Munoz, who curled a shot over Pride ‘keeper Britt Eckerstrom and inside the far post to make it 1-1.
The goal energized the Spirit Reserves, who created another great chance in the 35th minute as Dorsey ran behind the Colorado defense and picked up a perfect feed, touching the ball past a charging Eckerstrom. Just as she prepared to score into the empty net, Dorsey was closed down by a defender to end the opportunity.
Washington came close again in the 38th minute, as Aedo Munoz’s free kick surprised Eckerstrom and bounced off her thigh to Megan Dougherty-Howard, whose left-footed volley sailed high.
The teams exchanged chances early in the second half, with Andrews nearly getting loose for a flick at the near post in the 49th minute for the Pride and The Spirit Reserves’ Aedo Munoz firing high after a pass from Sarah Zadrazil in the 55th minute.
Laval Comets 2, Quebec Dynamo ARSQ 0
The host Laval Comets captured the consolation final as Veronique Maranda gave them the lead in the fourth minute and Veronique Laverdiere added a 76th-minute score. It was the third victory for Laval in five meetings between the provincial rivals this season.