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Spirit coach Kris Ward says Louisville ‘wanted it more’ in second-half draw

Nadia Nadim #10 of Racing Louisville FC celebrates after scoring during the second half against Washington Spirit at Segra Field on June 17, 2022 in Leesburg, Virginia. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The Washington Spirit’s Friday night contest against Racing Louisville ended in an all too familiar fashion, with the hosts once again dropping a first-half lead in the game’s final minutes.

Goals from Trinity Rodman and Madison Elwell put the Spirit up 2-0 at the break, but a second-half surge from Louisville spoiled what would’ve been Washington’s first regular-season win in eight games.

Nadia Nadim logged both of Racing Lousiville’s goals, the first in the 66th minute and the second in the 89th, for a dramatic finish to the clubs’ first meeting of the year.

Washington’s late defensive implosion has become a pattern for the team, who has weathered a loaded schedule to start the season.

Friday’s contest comes after the Spirit watched a draw slip through their fingers Saturday, giving up a stoppage-time goal to the North Carolina Courage. It was a similar story during the team’s May contest against Orlando, with the Pride notching two goals in stoppage time to rob the Spirit of their second regular-season win.

“They wanted it more than we did in the second half,” Spirit coach Kris Ward told reporters in the post-game press conference. While he emphasized that the team needed to play with more heart and urgency, Ward also pointed to the absence of Andi Sullivan in the second half, with the Spirit captain battling a nagging injury.

“I can only speak to people’s emotions currently because people are pretty pissed. All of us are pissed because we know it’s not good enough,” Sullivan said after the game.

The Spirit’s winless streak extends to nine, with the team receiving a break before their July 3 matchup as seven players report to international duty for the USWNT.