Spirit Victorious, 1-0, in Season Opener Versus OL Reign

Washington Spirit  |   March 26, 2023
Spirit Victorious, 1-0, in Season Opener Versus OL Reign Featured Image

Luke Bennett


Washington, D.C. (03/26/2023)The Spirit opened its season victorious, cashing in three points in a 1-0 victory off of a Trinity Rodman goal in the 54th minute.

Despite the fanfare surrounding the season opener at Audi Field, the Spirit’s permanent home, the season opening rematch against OL Reign was without much action on the pitch as both teams played to a stalemate in the first 45 minutes of action.

Goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury – making her 100th career regular season NWSL appearance – made the first save of the game on a header inside the box from OL Reign’s Jess Fishlock, stopping a would-be goal. Kingsbury would save two more shots in the first half, both coming from Bethany Balcer.

OL Reign continued to apply pressure, controlling possession in the attacking third for much of the first half. The opposition finished with 11 first half shots, eight coming inside the box and three on target. The Spirit did not land a shot on target in three attempts.

The script would quickly flip when third year forward and 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year winner Trinity Rodman dribbled past midfield before sending a laser from about 20 yards into the bottom-right corner of the goal. The unassisted goal put the Spirit up 1-0 in the 54th minute and was Rodman’s 11th goal in an NWSL regular season match.

Following a series of substitutions from both sides around the 60th minute, OL Reign responded with another near scoring chance – an Elyse Bennett touch inside the box. Kingsbury’s outstretched hands plucked the ball away before Bennett could make a turn and send the ball into an empty goal, saving another clear scoring chance for OL Reign.  

After a mass substitution in the 85th minute in which Rodman, Gabrielle Carle and Bayley Feist were replaced with Lena Silano (first-year player), Maddie Elwell and Marissa Sheva, respectively, the Spirit held on to the slim lead until the final whistle.  

In the second half, the Spirit outshot OL Reign 8-5, holding them to only one shot on target. This is the second consecutive year that the Spirit beat OL Reign in a season opener, extending the team’s unbeaten streak (all competitions) against OL Reign to 10 games. This unbeaten streak dates back to 2018 and includes a current five-game winning streak during which the Spirit have only allowed two goals in the past six matches. 

Next up, the Spirit travel to Kentucky to face off against Racing Louisville FC on Saturday, April 1 at 3 p.m. The game will be available to stream on Paramount+ for fans in the United States and on NWSLSoccer.com for international viewers. 

-NWSL Match Report- 

Match: Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign 

Date: March 26, 2023 

Venue: Audi Field 

Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ET 

Weather: Sunny, mid-60s 

Scoring Summary: 

Goals  1  2  F 
Washington  0  1  1 
OL Reign  0  0  0 

WAS – Trinity Rodman – 54’ 


WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 3 – Sam Staab; 9 – Tara McKeown (22 – Amber Brooks 61’); 14 – Gabby Carle (16 – Maddie Elwell 85’); 19 – Dorian Bailey; 12 – Andi Sullivan; 13 – Bayley Feist (25 – Marissa Sheva 85’); 26 – Paige Metayer; 2 – Trinity Rodman (24 – Lena Silano 85’); 10 – Ashley Sanchez; 33 – Ashley Hatch (20 – Civana Kuhlmann 75’) 

Unused Substitutes: 28 – Nicole Barnhart; 7 – Inès Jaurena; 11 – Jordan Baggett; 17 – Nicole Douglas 

OL Reign: 91 – Phallon Tullis-Joyce; 11 – Sofia Huerta; 4 – Alana Cook; 17 – Sam Hiatt; 3 – Lauren Barnes; 2 – Emily Sonnett; 10 – Jess Fishlock; 16 – Rose Lavelle; 8 – Bethany Balcer (33 – Olivia Van der Jagt 63’); 9 – Jordan Huitema; 23 – Tziarra King (34 – Elyse Bennett 64’) 

Unused Substitutes: 18 – Laurel Ivory; 7 – Nikki Stanton; 12 – Olivia Athens; 13 – Marley Canales; 22 – Ryanne Brown; 24 – Veronica Latsko; 25 – Shae Holmes 

Stats Summary: WAS / RGN 

Shots: 12 / 16 

Shots On Goal: 4 / 4 

Saves: 4 / 3 

Tackles: 29 / 23  

Fouls: 15 / 9 

Offsides: 1 / 4 

Misconduct Summary: 

WAS – Ashley Hatch – 20’ – Yellow Card 

RGN – Emily Sonnett 42’ – Yellow Card 

WAS – Andi Sullivan 45+4’ – Yellow Card 

WAS – Marissa Sheva 88’ – Yellow Card 

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