The undefeated Washington Spirit win in North Carolina.
- The Real Spirit Team?- One thing the Spirit coach, Mike Parsons, has been focusing on is his system (and expressing the belief he has in it). After the season opening win against Reign and the draw against Louisville, fans were excited that the difficult to watch games were left in 2022, but despite that win, Parsons said this Spirit team we saw wasn’t the real team. There’s a system and style of play Parsons has been putting in place for months now, and it’s easy to see the difference. This Washington Spirit team look and feel more passionate during every game so far, even when confronted with frustrating plays, it’s hard to miss the changes Parsons made.
- Chloe Ricketts Debut- On March 2nd, a few short weeks before the Washington Spirit season opener, the team signed 15 year old Chloe Ricketts to a three-year deal, making her the youngest player (at the time) with an NWSL contract. Through preseason, the media and fans wondered how much of Ricketts we’d see in her first season, and at the 66th minute of the third game of the 2023 season, she made her professional soccer debut. Her mature and skillful play leaves many excited to see more of her, but for now there’s nothing more exciting than a professional debut ending with a win.
Box Score: 2-1
NWSL Regular Season – Game # 3
First Half – Coming off a draw against Racing Louisville, the Spirit were looking to show more offensive control and a stronger finish this game. With no glaring momentum for either team being established during the first five minutes, it was Rodman who scored at the 6th minute, giving the Spirit the first goal of the match. Rodman with her second goal of the season, both goals being the first of the game.
With a 1-0 lead, the Spirit held the offensive momentum until the ending of the half neared. Shortly before halftime, Courage’s Kerolin gets the ball, putting it right beyond Spirit goalkeeper, Kingsbury, scoring at the 43rd minute.
Second Half- Tied at one to open the second half, Hatch had the ball and scored her 40th NWSL goal against Courage, putting the Spirit up 2-1 at the 50th minute. With a few passes and deflected shots, the Spirit get control of the ball but with a wonky pass, the ball hits Rodman in the head, with the medical staff having to come out and evaluate her on the pitch before giving her the clear to continue. Shortly after the medical staff see Rodman, they’re out on the pitch again, this time evaluating Carle before she slightly hops off, with Brooks subbing on for her at the 66th minute.
During the 66th minute, Chloe Ricketts, the 15 year old player the Spirit drafted in March during preseason, makes her professional debut.
The ball gets away from the Courage and as Rodman goes to make a tackle, she gets tangled up with a Courage player bringing her down. Rodman gets a yellow card for tripping at the 78th minute. After a player’s debut, a player’s 40th goal, and ten minutes of stoppage time ends, the Spirit leave North Carolina undefeated (so far) with a 2-1 win.
Washington Spirit Goals – Rodman 6’, Hatch 50’
NC Courage Goals – Kerolin 43’
(C)Kingsbury; Carle (Brooks 66’), Staab, McKeown, Bailey; Sheva (Ricketts 66’), Sullivan, Jaurena (Baggett 90+3’), Hatch (Kuhlmann 80’), Sanchez, Rodman
NC Courage (433)
Murphy; Fox, Kurts, Williams, Pickett; (C)O’Sullivan, Miura (Radcliffe 87’), Pinto (Farrow 87’); Geji (Lussi 62’), Hopkins (Madsen 71’), Kerolin
Washington Spirit- Sullivan 41’, Rodman 78’
NC Courage- Lussi 69’, Pinto 81’