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By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (6/11/19) – The Washington Spirit are the hottest team in the NWSL with four straight wins, and no player on the Spirit exemplifies the successful run more than forward Ashley Hatch. With a goal in each of the last three games and two nominations for the NWSL Goal of the Week Award, Hatch has been one of the driving forces to take the Spirit to the top of the league standings.
On May 18 against Portland Thorns FC, Hatch scored her first goal of the season in the 16th minute on the way to a 3-1 Spirit win. She followed up on May 26 at Chicago with a strike that became the NWSL Goal of the Week. And on June 1 against Utah Royals FC, she tallied the opening goal of a 2-0 win to earn another Goal of the Week nomination.
A big part of Hatch’s streak has been her ability to make runs into dangerous areas, drawing in key passes that set up scoring opportunities. All three of her goals have been assisted. Against Portland, Hatch found an open space on the edge of the 18-yard box, and midfielder Amy Harrison delivered a pass through multiple defenders to put Hatch in possession. With the space created by her run, Hatch was able to dribble unchallenged into the six-yard box before slotting home past Portland goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom.
1-0 | #WASvPOR
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) May 18, 2019
Hatch scored with her left foot against Thorns FC, but her two most recent goals each came from her right foot. In Chicago, Hatch was in the center of the box when forward Arielle Ship crossed the ball in. Despite being tightly marked by her defender, Hatch reached around with her right leg to redirect the pass past goalkeeper Emily Boyd. Hatch’s positioning was key to the play as she managed to get the perfect touch to double the Spirit lead.
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) May 26, 2019
Against Utah, it was midfielder Tori Huster who sent a cross Hatch’s way. Hatch was marked at the top of the box, but after dribbling around one defender she found some space. After a quick turn and shoot, the six Utah players in the box could only watch as the ball beat goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart at the far post.
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) June 1, 2019