Washington Spirit

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Stanford’s Andi Sullivan is the No. 1 pick in NWSL draft

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The Washington Spirit have selected midfielder Andi Sullivan out of Stanford with the first pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft on Thursday.

Stanford won the NCAA College Cup championship last season. Sullivan scored in the 3-2 Cardinal victory over UCLA. She also won the Mac Hermann Trophy for the nation’s best soccer player.

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Sullivan has made seven appearances with the U.S. national team and has been called into January training camp as the team begins to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.

The Spirit also had the third overall pick, which they used to select midfielder Rebecca Quinn out of Duke.

The Boston Breakers took forward Savannah McCaskill out of South Carolina with the No. 2 overall pick.

The day also featured a number of high-profile trades, including a deal between the Reign and the Royals that sent midfielder Diana Matheson to Utah in exchange for veteran defender Yael Averbuch.

USWNT’s Mallory Pugh signs with NWSL’s Washington Spirit

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It’s officially official: Mallory Pugh is a professional soccer player.

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Pugh, the U.S. women’s national team’s 19-year-old budding superstar, announced last month that she was leaving UCLA before having played a single game of college soccer, in favor of going pro.

The next three weeks would be full of speculation over where Pugh would play this season. Her preference was the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, but the Washington Spirit held the no. 1 spot in the NWSL Distribution Ranking Order, meaning they were first in line to acquire Pugh’s services. Paris Saint-Germain was also a possibility, as the French club offered Pugh a contract to head overseas.

In the end, Washington’s big bet paid off — in hopes of this exact scenario playing out, they traded away the majority of their assets during the offseason in order to move into the top spot in the allocation order.

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“This is a monumental moment for our club and the NWSL,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in a press release. “We are extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to develop such a talented player. We look forward to having Mallory join the Spirit family.”

“I am very excited to begin my career in the NWSL and with the Washington Spirit,” said Pugh. “Being part of a professional team will allow me to grow and develop as a player, and I look forward to helping the Spirit win championships.”

USWNT striker Dunn off to Chelsea

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USWNT star striker Crystal Dunn is leaving the NWSL for one of the biggest clubs in England.

Dunn, 24, has left the Washington Spirit to join Chelsea, where she’ll bring 45 goals, 18 caps, and the Golden Boot from last year’s CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

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She’s the latest USWNT star to eschew the NWSL for some time overseas, as Alex Morgan left Orlando for a half-season loan with Lyon.

Here’s what Dunn said to Chelsea’s official site after signing a deal through the 2018 season:

“It’s a big personal challenge for me but I am ready to take this next step in my career. Playing for Chelsea is a unique opportunity for me to take my game to another level and I think the moment is right.

 

“I’m going to give my all. It would be a dream to play in the Champions League and I am ready to help out the team in any way. I’m excited to join my new team-mates and join forces with them.”

Washington was a bit of a mess last season, and Ali Krieger has also left the club. The Spirit is also the club that played the national anthem early so Megan Rapinoe couldn’t kneel during it.

She played her college ball at North Carolina, where the Tar Heels won the 2012 NCAA title. Fellow American Matt Miazga transferred to Chelsea in 2016, but currently on loan to Vitesse in the Netherlands.

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Western NY Flash beat Spirit on penalties for the NWSL title

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HOUSTON (AP) Sabrina D’Angelo made three saves in the penalty shootout and the Western New York Flash won the National Women’s Soccer League championship 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with the Washington Spirit on Sunday.

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Crystal Dunn gave the Spirit the lead in the 92nd minute, but Golden Boot winner Lynn Williams scored for the Flash in extra time of the overtime period to send the match to penalties.

Dunn first scored in the 10th minute, before Samantha Mewis evened it with a goal for the Flash in the 14th. Both players are also part of the U.S national team and are on the roster for a pair of friendlies later this month against Switzerland.

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D’Angelo, who was on the Canadian national team that won the bronze medal at this summer’s Olympic Games, pumped her fists and screamed after stopping Diana Matheson’s attempt for the win at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.

WATCH: Crystal Dunn beams left-footer home for NWSL side Washington

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Bar bleeping down.

The Washington Spirit made headlines for sneaking an early rendition of the American national anthem past the protest of Megan Rapinoe, but there was a real genuine headline-worthy moment on the field, too.

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That’s because USWNT star Crystal Dunn tore the cover off the ball with a left-footed laser from about 20 yards away, giving the home side a 1-0 lead over Rapinoe’s Reign on Wednesday.

Boom! The 24-year-old Dunn was the first overall pick in the 2014 Draft, and has 15 goals in 39 caps for the national team.