- The Washington Times - Friday, June 22, 2001


Even an illegal substitution couldn't prevent the Washington Freedom from suffering their third straight loss.

The San Diego Spirit scored two goals in the first 12 minutes and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Freedom last night before 10,742 at RFK Stadium. It was the largest midweek crowd to watch a Women's United Soccer Association match.

Poor defending doomed the Freedom. Washington marked the midpoint of its season with one of its worst first halfs. Subsequently, the Freedom (4-5-2) fell below .500 for the first time this season, losing their third straight and fourth in five games.

It's not as if the Spirit (3-5-2) rolled into the nation's capital as a juggernaut before last night, they had lost four of their last five matches.

The Freedom played as if they not the Spirit were the seventh-place team in the WUSA.

One of the most embarrassing moments for Washington came in the 79th minute, when coach Jim Gabarra substituted Roseli for defender Emmy Barr. The problem was that Gabarra already had substituted four field players. League rules state that teams are allowed four field subs and one goalkeeper.

Roseli played the last 11 minutes of the game with the referees not even noticing. Amy Bumgarner, the game's fourth official, should have disallowed the substitution.

"Yes, [it was] an oversight by the referee," referee Sandra Hunt said in a written statement. "The referee is ultimately responsible."

When asked what would the ruling would have been if the Freedom had tied the game, Hunt said, "We got lucky tonight."

San Diego's forwards punished the Freedom for their lackluster play. Spirit forward Jenny Mascaro scored two goals and had one assist. Shannon MacMillan scored one goal and added an assist.

MacMillan picked up where she left off the last time these teams met. It took MacMillan just 10 minutes to score her third goal in two matches against the Freedom.

In the Freedom's 2-0 loss at San Diego on May 5, MacMillan scored both goals. Last night she struck in the 10th minute to give the Spirit a 1-0 lead. On a quick throw-in, Spirit forward Mercy Akide played a deep ball into space on the right wing. Barr, who was closer and had a better angle to Akide's ball, was beaten from behind to the ball by MacMillan.

MacMillian slid around Barr and got her right foot on the ball. From 12 yards, MacMillan directed the ball to the far post past stunned goalkeeper Siri Mullinix.

"I knew she was fast," Barr said. "It was surprising that she came around the back of me."

Two minutes later, Mascaro found the back of the Freedom's net again. Spirit midfielder Traci Arkenburg played a ball into the 18-yard box. A collision between Spirit midfielder Julie Foudy, Freedom defender Skylar Little and Mullinix left the three players on the ground with a loose ball. Mascaro poked it into an empty net.

The Spirit made it 3-0 in the 26th minute on a short chip inside the 6-yard box when MacMillan played the ball in.

The Freedom managed to get on the board before the first half ended on an own goal when Spirit defender Fan Yunjie headed the ball into her own net.

Freedom forward Amanada Cromwell scored in the 74th minute when she ran onto a Barr throw-in from the left side and blasted a 12-yard shot into the upper right corner.

"I was hoping for us to score the first goal," Gabarra said. "I thought it could have been 3-3 at halftime.

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