Carli Lloyd had an opportunity to play in front of her hometown fans, but did not score. (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
CHESTER, Pa. – In an emotional night for several reasons, NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit played to a scoreless draw in a special Carli Lloyd farewell game at Subaru Park Wednesday night.
The game was moved from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. so the U.S. women’s national team legend could play one last National Women’s Soccer League game closer to her home fans in the Philadelphia area.
Lloyd, who hails from Medford, N.J., had some of the best opportunities, but failed to score.
And the game was a make-up from the weekend, when players refused to play in wake of several recent scandals, including the most recent one of former North Carolina head coach Paul Riley being accused of sexual harassing players.
In the sixth minute, both teams came together at midfield in an act of solidarity in light of recent events across the league.
Both sides struggled to develop any real scoring opportunities. In the 24th minute, Spirit defender Sam Staab made a tackle just past midfield to keep Lloyd from breaking towards the Spirit goal. Just before halftime, Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made a big save on Lloyd to keep it deadlocked.
Early in the second half, Lloyd had the best chance of the game for either side but her shot went just wide of the net. Less than five minutes later, the Spirit had its best opportunity of the game when Ashley Sanchez picked up the ball just above the 18-yard box and ripped a shot over the crossbar.
Play eventually opened. A little over 10 minutes into the second half, Midge Purce broke free in the box but put it right into the stomach of Bledsoe. Minutes later, she weaved her way through the box but her shot was deflected out for a corner kick.
Washington captain Andi Sullivan received a yellow card in the 77th minute and on the ensuing free kick, Bledsoe came up with a big stop again.