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Washington Spirit hold off Seattle Reign in a 0-0 draw

In their first game back from the international break, the Washington Spirit battled second-place Seattle Reign Saturday to a 0-0 draw dominated by defense at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

In the 86th minute, Seattle forward Megan Rapinoe sprinted into the Spirit’s box. The United States national team star, who scored earlier in the week during USA’s 2-1 win over China PR, connected in the air with a long cross. What could have been the late-game winner for Seattle turned into a shining moment on the other side of the pitch.

Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made a diving save and knocked the upper-90 strike out of danger. 

Spirit’s shot-stopper Bledsoe proved she deserves the title of top goalkeeper in the league with her fourth shutout of the season. Bledsoe added six saves to her name against the Reign. She now has 63 saves this season, which is 29 more than second-place Kailen Sheridan of Sky Blue FC. 

Despite the Spirit’s strong defensive performance, the club was clearly missing a star in the attack without Mallory Pugh. The Spirit confirmed earlier this month that Pugh will miss eight to 10 weeks with a posterior cruciate ligament strain suffered in the May 27 match against the Houston Dash. 

Washington maintained only 42 percent of possession throughout the game and shot two of 16 shots on target. At halftime, coach Jim Gabarra substituted Nigerian international Franny Ordega on for Rose Lavelle. Ordega added speed to the Spirit’s attack, but the effort wasn’t enough for a goal. The Spirit are now winless in their last four matches. 

They head to Orlando for a match against the Pride on Saturday at 7 p.m. Seattle looks to build back momentum when it hosts the North Carolina Courage at 4 p.m. that same day.

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