Washington Spirit team photo ahead of their Challenge Cup match against Orlando Pride (May 10, 2023) / Photo courtesy of Washington Spirit

The Spirit have back to back wins at Audi Field.

The Takeaways:

  • Fresh Lineup, Fresh Outcome – Seven different Spirit players started this match against the Orlando Pride, and with a fresh lineup, came a fresh – and fun – outcome. Kingsbury, Staab, Brooks and Metayer, the steady starters for the Spirit, created the usual, necessary and skillful moves needed for this game to end with such a positive outcome, but with seven different players starting, it seems the lineup being shaken up is exactly what the Spirit needed to bounce back with such an offense heavy win after losing the opening Challenge Cup game.
  • Raining Goals – One thing that seemed necessary for the Spirit to become an offensively lethal team, was more goals in matches to secure their leads. During the match against Orlando, we got four goals from four different players. With the Spirit dominating offensively, it was exciting for the home crowd to experience this goal filled win.

NWSL Challenge Cup – Match 2

First Half

Coming off a 1-0 loss to Gotham in their opening match of the 2023 Challenge Cup, the Spirit started the match with a much different lineup. A noticeable factor to that lineup being the Spirit’s 15 year old player, Chloe Ricketts, getting her first start of her professional career. The first half started choppy for the Spirit, only ten minutes in with Orlando holding the offensive control and a back heel kick from Hansen, sent the ball right by Kingsbury for the opening goal of the game, 1-0 Pride.

Sheva had a chance to tie the game at the 24th minute, but the ball was high. Still 1-0 Orlando. Not long after Sheva’s attempt, Silano pulled the Spirit ahead with her first NWSL goal of her career at the 33rd minute. The Spirit and Pride are tied 1-1. Soon after Silano’s goal, Orlando’s Martinez gets a yellow card that sets up the Spirit for a free kick. Staab lines up for the free kick, and with the ball floating in the air for what seems like a millisecond, it hits the back of the net. Spirit went up 2-1 at the 37th minute. Building off her momentum from her missed shot earlier in the opening half, Sheva gets the ball from Ricketts and further extends the Spirit, with a goal at the 42nd minute. Three Spirit goals within ten minutes of each other, after Orlando held the lead for the opening 30 minutes, ending the first half 3-1 in Washington’s favor.

Second Half

After a strong start to the first half, Orlando took the same offensive approach with a steady start to the second. The Spirit made three player substitutions, with Tanner, Jaurena and Hatch, coming on for Ricketts, Metayer and Kuhlmann respectively, with Riley Tanner making her NWSL debut. However, not long after the Spirit substitutions, Orlando’s Watt, gets the ball and scores at the 49th minute, closing in on the Washington lead. 

At the 69th minute Sanchez is subbed on Douglas and the Spirit take offensive control. With five minutes of stoppage time added, Tanner has the ball and sends the ball to Sanchez, who scores her second goal of the season, and the fourth Spirit goal of the game at the 90+4th minute, helping lift the Spirit to their second straight home field win and first win of the 2023 Challenge Cup win.

Box Score

Washington Spirit – 4 (Silano 33’, Staab 37’, Sheva 42’, Sanchez 90+4’)

Orlando Pride – 2 (Hansen 10’, Watt 49’)


Spirit (442) – Kingsbury (c); Biegalski, Brooks, Staab (McKeown 46’), Elwell; Sheva, Metayer (Jaurena 46’), Douglas (Sanchez 70’), Ricketts (Tanner 46’); Silano, Kuhlmann (Hatch 60’)

Pride (4231) – Collins; Jiménez (Bright 76’), Hansen, Cosme, Martinez; Listro, (C)Abello; Allen (Morris 61’), Reiss (Tymrak 66’), Bugeja (Yates 46’); Watt

Misconduct Summary

Spirit – Hatch 81’, Jaurena 86’

Pride – Martinez 37’

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David Rusk

With family in town for dinner, I missed being at Buzzard Point for the Spirit match. But the extended highlights are well worth watching. Four golazos for the Spirit.

[…] Spirit’s First Challenge Cup Win of 2023-  Recap (DP) […]

Bryan McEachern

That photo is adorable. Just saying….they got Spirit!

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