Los Angeles, Calif. (05/13/2023) – The first 15 minutes of action in the sole NWSL match played on Saturday were characterized by both teams jockeying for control of attack. In the 18th minute, the Spirit issued the first real offensive attack, barraging Angel City FC with shots inside the box. The series ended with forward Ashley Hatch hitting a lob shot that Angel City keeper DiDi Haračić plucked just before it crossed the goal line. Haračić stayed busy, punching away a set piece bomb from Sam Staab and defending a shot from Ashley Sanchez that went just wide of goal. Sanchez led the team with two shots in the first 25 minutes.
The first Angel City shot came in the 28th from Madison Hammond – it was sent well above goal. Angel City tested the Spirit’s backline with immense pressure, sending in three corners in a three-minute timespan. However, the Spirit thwarted all attempts.
The first disciplinary action was issued in the 38th when ex-Spirit defender Paige Nielsen collided with Spirit forward Trinity Rodman who was on a potential breakaway. The first half ended with both teams swapping offensive chances and defensive stops. Possession and shots were spread fairly evenly between the two teams.
Out of halftime, ACFC controlled attack. Savannah McCaskill charged inside the box and was downed, but the referee commanded play to continue to the chagrin of the Los Angeles crowd. Moments later, 18-year-old and 2023 number one overall pick Alyssa Thompson kicked a ball that hit the outside of the net.
Midway through the second half, Spirit keeper Aubrey Kingsbury was downed and received medical attention but stayed in the game. In the 68th, Angel City added to its disciplinary total when McCaskill was charged with a yellow. In the following moments, the Spirit regained control of the attack when a corner was punched by Haračić, Sanchez sent another shot just wide of goal and Hatch was dropped inside the box, but a VAR check confirmed there was no foul on the play. Finally, in the 73rd, defender Amber Brooks sent a bomb from outside the box, but missed the goal.
Play continued in similar fashion with both teams trading blows until midfielder Marissa Sheva, who subbed in for Inès Jaurena in the 74th, ripped a shot that hit Angel City’s M.A. Vignola on the arm inside of the box. A VAR check confirmed the referee’s decision and Vignola was subsequently issued a yellow card. Additionally, Haračić earned a yellow card during the lengthy VAR review. Angel City earned all five of the yellow cards issued in the game. The team now leads the league in yellow cards.
Following the review, Hatch nailed the penalty attempt that would become the game-winning goal. The goal lifted her to the outright lead in the Golden Boot race and makes her six-for-six from the spot during her Sprit career. Her last three goals this season have been penalty kicks.
With the win, the Spirit sits alone at the top of the NWSL table and is the only remaining unbeaten side in the NWSL this season. The 1-0 decision was the first win the Spirit has earned against Angel City in the all-time series history.
Next up, the Spirit travels to Orlando to face the Pride for the second time in three games on Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. EDT.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Angel City FC vs. Washington Spirit
Date: May 13, 2023
Venue: BMO Stadium
Kickoff: 10:00 p.m. EDT
Weather: Sunny, low-70s
WAS – Ashley Hatch – 90’+4’ (PK)
LA: 13- DiDi Haračić; 99- Madison Hammond (5- Ali Riley 77’); 14- Paige Nielsen; 11- Sarah Gorden; 16- M.A. Vignola; 8- Julie Ertz; 17- Dani Weatherholt; 9- Savannah McCaskill; 18- Jun Endo (33- Katie Johnson 77’); 21- Alyssa Thompson (15- Scarlett Camberos 66’); 10- Claire Emslie (24- Mackenzie Pluck 89’)
Unused Substitutes: 1- Brittany Isenhour; 29- Clarisse Le Bihan; 28- Lily Nabet; 6- Megan Reid; 3- Jasmyne Spencer
WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 3- Sam Staab; 9- Tara McKeown; 14- Gabrielle Carle; 22- Amber Brooks; 7- Inès Jaurena (25- Marissa Sheva 74’); 12- Andi Sullivan; 26- Paige Metayer (19- Dorian Bailey 89’); 2- Trinity Rodman; 10- Ashley Sanchez; 33- Ashley Hatch (24- Lena Silano 90’+6’)
Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 30- Camryn Biegalski; 17- Nicole Douglas; 16- Maddie Elwell; 20- Civana Kuhlmann; 39- Chloe Ricketts
Stats Summary: LA / WAS
Shots: 9 / 13
Shots On Goal: 2 / 3
Blocked Shots: 4 / 5
Saves: 2 / 2
Tackles Won: 7 / 6
Fouls: 8 / 8
Offsides: 5 / 1
LA – Paige Nielsen – 38’ – Yellow Card
LA – Savannah McCaskill – 62’ – Yellow Card
LA – Madison Hammond – 75’ – Yellow Card
LA – M.A. Vignola – 90+1’ – Yellow Card
LA – DiDi Haračić – 90+4’ – Yellow Card