Bridgeview, Ill. (04/29/2023) – The Spirit and Red Stars began play in the 1001st NWSL regular season match, kicking off after Racing Louisville FC and OL Reign faced off in the League’s 1000th match since its inception in 2012.
With a start in today’s game, defender Sam Staab established a new NWSL record of 73 consecutive regular season starts. She surpassed teammate and fellow defender Amber Brooks who previously held the record.
Action began quickly in this Saturday evening matchup with a header from Ashley Hatch off an in-swinging cross from Trinity Rodman. The 20-year-old forward would swing in another cross inside the box moments later just past the foot of first-year midfielder Paige Metayer. Rodman would log four touches in the opponent’s box and three crosses in the first nine minutes of action.
What followed was two pieces of preventative goalkeeping coming from former USWNT teammates – Red Stars keeper Alyssa Naeher and the Spirit’s Aubrey Kingsbury. Naeher cut off Hatch following a dangerous pass from left back Gabrielle Carle. Moments later, Kingsbury cleared the ball just before Red Stars rookie Ally Schlegel got a foot on the ball.
The first disciplinary action came in the 17’ when center back Tara McKeown tackled Schlegel from behind, leading to an Ella Stevens’ free kick that sailed over the bar. However, a defensive error by Stevens – tripping Spirit midfielder Inès Jaurena inside the box – would lead to a Spirit penalty kick.
Hatch took, and made, the penalty kick attempt in the 29’, tying 2022 NWSL MVP Sophia Smith for the most goals (4) in the NWSL. She is five-for-five from the spot during the regular season in her Spirit career.
The Spirit lead was short-lived as the Red Stars would tie the score off of Bianca St-Georges’ foot in the 33’. Schlegel found St-Georges and subsequently earned her first career NWSL assist.
The Spirit, who came into the match owning the lowest possession percentage in the League, dominated possession (60%) in the first half. Six of the Spirit’s seven shots came inside the opponent’s box, and the team logged 17 touches in the opponent’s box to the Red Stars four.
In the second half, St-Georges continued her tireless attack, splitting Staab and McKeown and aiming a touch shot towards goal that was deflected by Kingsbury. Red Stars teammate Arin Wright put another shot on goal minutes later, but the attempt was easily saved by Kingsbury for her second save of the match.
In the 68’, Sam Staab was issued a yellow card. The ensuing free kick was broken up, leading to a Jaurena breakaway and shot that was blocked out of bounds for a corner. Staab’s first two corner attempts were blocked out of bound by the Red Stars, while the third was punched by Naeher.
The Spirit subbed Lena Silano and Chloe Ricketts into the game for Hatch and Jaurena in the 72’, and the Red Stars answered four minutes later, inserting Jenna Bike and Ava Cook for St-Georges and Stevens, respectively.
Ricketts was an instant game-changer upon entering the match – drawing a foul that set up a free kick, logging her first career shot on goal, and flicking a ball to Rodman inside the box that set up another Spirit shot on goal.
While controlling the pace of the game from whistle to whistle, the Spirit ultimately couldn’t add another score, leading to a 1-1 draw. The Spirit recorded 22 shots to the Red Stars’ ten and outshot Chicago 16 to four inside the box. Additionally, the Spirit logged 45 touches inside the opponent’s box, 37 more than Chicago.
The 1-1 draw keeps the Spirit unbeaten in the 2023 NWSL regular season. It was the third consecutive draw between the two teams and the Spirit’s third draw in its four most recent regular season games.
Next up, the Spirit host Alex Morgan and San Diego Wave FC at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 6th at Audi Field. Tickets can be purchased here.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit
Date: April 29, 2023
Venue: SeatGeek Stadium
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. EDT
Weather: Cloudy, low-50s
WAS – Ashley Hatch – 29’ (PK)
CHI – Bianca St-Georges – 33’
CHI: 1- Alyssa Naeher; 12- Tierna Davidson; 6- Casey Krueger; 23- Tatumn Milazzo; 3- Arin Wright; 7- Yuki Nagasato; 4- Cari Roccaro; 22- Bianca St-Georges (24- Jenna Bike 75’); 55- Penelope Hocking (14- Jill Aguilera – 89’); 8- Ella Stevens (25- Ava Cook 75’); 34- Ally Schlegel (5- Julia Bianchi 80’)
Unused Substitutes: 21- Emily Boyd; 2- Samantha Fisher; 15- Sarah Griffith; 16- Sophie Jones; 31- Amanda Kowalski
WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 14- Gabrielle Carle; 3- Sam Staab; 9- Tara McKeown; 22- Amber Brooks; 26- Paige Metayer; 12- Andi Sullivan; 7- Inès Jaurena (39- Chloe Ricketts 72’); 33- Ashley Hatch (24- Lena Silano 72’); 10- Ashley Sanchez; 2- Trinity Rodman
Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 30- Camryn Biegalski; 18- Lyza Bosselman; 17- Nicole Douglas; 16- Maddie Elwell; 20- Civana Kuhlmann; 25- Marissa Sheva
Stats Summary: CHI / WAS
Shots: 10 / 22
Shots On Goal: 3 / 6
Blocked Shots: 1 / 8
Saves: 5 / 2
Tackles Won: 9 / 10
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offsides: 1/ 2
WAS – Tara McKeown – 17’– Yellow Card
WAS – Sam Staab – 68’– Yellow Card