Spirit down Dash 3-1 in NWSL. Marta scores in Pride’s 1-0 win over Royals

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The Washington Spirit scored all of their goals in the second half for a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dash on Friday night in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Hal Hershfelt tied it at 1 in the 52nd minute before Brittany Ratcliffe’s blast from distance put the Spirit in front in the 82nd. Croix Bethune added an insurance goal two minutes later for the Spirit’s third straight victory.

Houston’s Natalie Jacobs scored just 59 seconds into the match to give the Dash (1-2-1) the early lead. It was the fastest goal in Houston’s history.

Jacobs was subbed out late in the first half after colliding with a Spirit player on a header attempt and falling hard. She clutched her back as she was attended to by trainers.

It was the Spirit’s first three-match regular-season winning streak since they won four in a row in 2021. It was also just the fourth win on the road for the Spirit (3-1-0) since the start of the 2022 season.

The loss spoiled the Dash’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of their first NWSL match.

Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan, a regular on the U.S. national team, played in her 100th NWSL regular-season match.

PRIDE 1, ROYALS 0

Marta came in as a second-half substitute and scored in the 68th minute to give the Orlando Pride a 1-0 victory over the expansion Utah Royals.

It was the first victory for the Pride, who had three straight draws to open the season and remain undefeated. Orlando is one of four teams in the NWSL without a loss this season.

Marta, a six-time FIFA Player of the Year and the Brazil’s career goals leader, was coming off international duty with the Brazil in the recent SheBelieves Cup.

The Pride was playing in Utah for the first time since 2019, during the first iteration of the Royals. The team folded in 2020 and its assets were moved to Kansas City, but was revived as an expansion team this year.

It was the second time in Orlando history the team is undefeated through its first four matches. In 2021, the Pride did not lose through their first seven games.

Utah has a win and three losses to start the season.

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AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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