The Spirit’s first game and first win of the 2023 season.
- Home Sweet Home
For the first time in the club’s history, all of the Spirit’s home games will be played at Audi Field. No longer having to split their home games between two locations, Audi Field and Segra Field, was good news. News almost as good as the Spirit’s first home game of the season ending with a home opener club record of 11,281 in attendance.
- New Year, New Look, New Feel
Wearing their bold new kits, the Spirit looked like a completely different team compared to the last time we saw them at Audi Field. After the disappointing end to the last season, and the long off-season, the Spirit players talked about being excited for this new look alongside the new season. The new all black home kits coincidentally matched Audi Field, while the teams play matched the intensity and physicality they talked about practicing all pre-season.
Box Score: 1-0
NWSL Regular Season – Game # 1
First Half –
With the Spirit in their new kits, at the start of the new season, the match began. At first, the momentum of the match seemed to favor the visiting team, the OL Reign, with their passes and shots coming often but not connecting for goals. The first half of the game showed the relentless efforts of Reign, but the Spirit defense matched their pace and gave up no goals, ending the half at zero across the board.
Early in the second half, the Spirit controlled the momentum over a seemingly frustrated Reign. At the 54 minute mark, with a pass from Bailey, Rodman scored the first goal of the game, putting the Spirit up by one. Minimal substitutions were made, with only five players coming in after Rodman’s goal,
For the rest of the match, the Spirit battled to not only keep the one goal lead, but to seal their first win of the season.
With seven minutes of stoppage time added, OL Reign had scoring opportunities, but the Spirit defense, led by Kingsbury with four big saves, was there at every opportunity, deflecting balls and causing turnovers. At the final whistle, with the Audi Field crowd cheering, the Washington Spirit secured their first win of the 2023 season, with a final score of 1-0 against the OL Reign.
Washington Spirit Goals – Rodman 54’
OL Reign Goals –
Washington Spirit (433)
(C)Kingsbury; Bailey, McKeown (Brooks 61’), Staab, Carle (Elwell 85’); Metayer, Sanchez, Sullivan; Rodman (Silano 85’), Hatch (Kuhlmann 76’), Fiest (Sheva 85’)
OL Reign (4231)
Tullis-Joyce; Huerta, Cook, Hiatt, Barnes; Sonnet, (C)Fishlock; Balcer (Jagt 63’), Lavelle, King (Bennett 63’); Huitema
Washington Spirit- Hatch 20’, Sullivan 45+4’
OL Reign- Sonnett 42’