×

Washington Spirit surges early to snap Bay FC’s two-game win streak

Washington Spirit surges early to snap Bay FC’s two-game win streak

SAN JOSE — Bay FC coach Albertin Montoya isn’t sure exactly what happened early in the first half of his squad’s Saturday night match against the Washington Spirit.

“It’s a great question,” Montoya said. “I don’t know.”

By the time Bay FC found some answers, the club was already in a 2-0 hole after just 21 minutes of play. That set the tone for a 3-0 Spirit victory in front of 11,384 at PayPal Park, which sent Bay FC into the NWSL’s Olympic break with a disappointing defeat, one that snapped a two-game winning streak.

“I don’t know what happened in those first 20 minutes,” Montoya said. “That was what was really upsetting for us in the coaching staff, because we’ve been playing so well. It was not us. That’s not how we’ve been playing.

Bay FC head coach Albertin Montoya reacts after a call while playing Washington Spirit FC during the second half of their match at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

“That’s not how we’ve responded in difficult times. We lacked energy.”

Washington (11-1-4) attacked from the opening kickoff, earning a free kick minutes into the contest. And after that set piece caused a scrum in front of goal, Makenna Morris buried a loose ball in the fourth minute to put Spirit up 1-0.

It was more of the same when Washington drew a foul in the box moments later. After the call survived a lengthy VAR review, Trinity Rodman buried the penalty kick for a two-goal advantage.

“We didn’t come out with as much intensity,” said Bay FC midfielder Dorian Bailey. “Our pressing wasn’t as intense as it has been in the past few games. That allowed them to play more in our half.”

Washington Spirit FC’s Trinity Rodman (2) battles Bay FC’s Kayla Sharples (27) for the ball during the second half of their match at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

“We just gave them too much respect,” added midfielder Kiki Pickett, “and forgot that we also know how to play the game.”

Bay FC (6-0-10) responded with a flurry of activity, generating numerous chances in the remaining first-half time. The best one belonged to Deyna Castellanos. She timed a run into the box and found herself one-on-one with goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury but couldn’t chip the ball over Kingsbury to cut the deficit in half.

“We weren’t necessarily stepping to them. We weren’t pressing them,” Montoya said. “After we decided to do so, the players took the initiative, and then that changed the game.”

Bay FC kept the pressure on out of the halftime break. Forward Racheal Kundananji found space quickly after the second-half kickoff and curled a shot toward goal that barely missed the post.

It was instead Washington’s Ouleymata Sarr who scored with a curler. Sarr’s bending shot in the 57th minute effectively ended Bay FC’s faint chances for a comeback.

Washington Spirit FC’s Hal Hershfelt (17) battles Bay FC’s Kiki Pickett (23) for the ball during the first half of their match at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Spirit entered Saturday’s match third in the NWSL standings and looked the part of a top-tier team. Bay FC remained in eighth place, still in position for the league’s final playoff berth.

The result wasn’t what Bay FC wanted heading into a break for the Olympics. But the way it responded after the early surge exemplified a mantra Montoya has been preaching.

Related Articles

Bay FC |


Bay FC wraps up first half with 3-0 loss to Washington Spirit

Bay FC |


Bay FC building chemistry from the ground up in inaugural season

Bay FC |


Bay FC coach Albertin Montoya ‘wishing the best’ for Lucy Rushton after general manager’s abrupt resignation

Bay FC |


Bay FC general manager Rushton abruptly resigns

Bay FC |


‘Hands down our best performance’: Bay FC’s defense rises to occasion in win over Angel City

“We can play with anyone in this league,” he said. “We have to be brave like that, because we can, and we’ve shown it. As long as we go out and play like we did in the second part of the first half, we’re going to give everyone a run for their money. We really are.”

On a night to search for silver linings, Bay FC added another chapter to the story of its first season. Against a team with five players headed to Olympic competition – including Rodman for the United States – Bay FC didn’t fold.

“It’s tough to go down 2-0 like that,” Bailey said. “And I think we did a really good job bouncing back afterwards. I don’t think the entire game was negative for us. We did a really good job picking ourselves up and composing ourselves.”