CHICAGO | Washington head coach Rafael Ramirez wanted his team to play a defensive game, and the Patriots played it to perfection except for a late penalty in the match.
Illiana Christian scored on a free kick with just three minutes remaining in the match to help the Vikings salvage a 1-1 tie from Washington in non-conference action on Saturday.
The Vikings were able to control much of the tempo and possession of the match, but a defensive minded Washington squad was able to hold Illiana Christian scoreless for the first 77 minutes.
"We knew (Illiana Christian) was a very good team," Ramirez said. "We played a defensive game today and were trying to win 1-0, 2-0. We came close, but they ended up getting that goal in the last minutes."
Illiana Christian (7-1-2) came out in the first half and pushed the pace at the Washington end of the field. The Patriots were able to clog the back and force to the Vikings to take shots from outside the box. Illiana Christian struggled to get good looks in front of the Washington (9-1-1) goal.
"In the first half, we were dominating the match as far as possession was concerned," Vikings coach AJ Turkstra said. "We couldn't score and we got a little frustrated. We're happy to get back even with the 1-1 score, and we'll take it as what it is."
Washington came out with renewed energy, and a stiff breeze at their backs, in the second half. Just two minutes into the half, Samantha Sosa was able to loft a loose ball over the Illiana keeper for a 1-0 Washington lead.
"I think it was deflected off the goalie," Sosa said. "My first instinct was to chip the ball because I saw the goalie was out."
The Patriots were able to apply pressure for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Illiana Christian quickly resumed their control and possession game. In the final 20 minutes, the Vikings had plenty of chances to tie but couldn't capitalize.
A Washington foul just outside the Patriot penalty box set Emma Pawlowski up for the game tying free kick from 25 yards out. The goal was Pawlowski's fourth free kick goal of the season.
"I like chipping it in," Pawlowski said. "It felt good. It was a frustrating game, but it was nice to get that in."