Recap: Spirit earns first Challenge Cup victory of season in decisive 4-2 result over Orlando

Spirit  |   May 10, 2023
Recap: Spirit earns first Challenge Cup victory of season in decisive 4-2 result over Orlando Featured Image

Washington, D.C. (05/10/2023) – Inserted into today’s Starting XI, midfielder Chloe Ricketts made her first career NWSL start, and defender Camryn Biegalski made her first start of the 2023 season (any competition).


The Pride wasted no time applying offensive pressure as Caitlin Cosme shot a ball just wide of goal. Only six minutes later, in the 10th minute, Tori Hansen notched the first goal of the game, putting Orlando up, 1-0. It was only the second goal surrendered at Audi Field this season. Hansen’s goal came off a corner that snuck through a scrum in the box and past keeper Aubrey Kingsbury


The Spirit answered, with forward Civana Kuhlmann logging two shots in quick succession – one a header from deep that went just over the goal and the second a shot from an angle that skipped to the left of the post. Amber Brooks added to the offensive pressure in the 24th, sliding in to the back post and connecting with a cross from midfielder Marissa Sheva that was sent over the goal.


However, in the 33rd, the levee broke and the Spirit’s attack was awarded in quick succession. Forward Lena Silano sent a shot to the bottom left corner of goal from outside of the box that snuck past Orlando’s Kaylie Collins. The goal was the first of her young NWSL career and she accomplished it in just her second career NWSL start (through all competitions).


Five minutes later, the Spirit struck again and took the lead, 2-1. Defender Sam Staabwho typically navigates the Spirit’s set pieces, launched a direct free kick from just outside the right part of the box. Staab’s goal tonight was her first UKG NWSL Challenge Cup goal since the inaugural Challenge Cup in which she scored a header to equalize against Portland Thorns FC. Staab also continued her streak of scoring in every season in which she has played. Additionally, her goal was just the sixth direct free kick goal in Challenge Cup history. The Spirit has two of them (Ashley Sanchez’s last April at Gotham FC).


A third goal in nine minutes came in similar fashion as the two before – Marissa Sheva scored her first career NWSL goal on another bomb from outside the box. Sheva’s goal was assisted by Ricketts who recorded her first career assist. Ricketts becomes the youngest player to have ever logged an assist in the Challenge Cup, usurping teammate Trinity Rodman who previously held the record.


Silano nearly added to the fun again minutes after Sheva on a feed from Kuhlmann, but her shot went just wide. In the first half, the Spirit outshot the Pride 10-4, logged 17 more final third entries, and won possession – 58.7% to 41.3%.


Both teams registered substitutions at the onset of the second half, notably midfielder Riley Tanner who replaced Ricketts. That substitution earned Tanner her first career NWSL appearance.


Shortly after, the Pride kept things interesting, trimming the lead to 3-2. Pride forward Ally Watt got loose on a breakaway four minutes into the half and sent a shot past Kingsbury.


Very little followed in ensuing action until Ashley Hatch and Inès Jaurena were issued yellow cards in the 81st and 85th, respectively. That was until the fourth minute of second half stoppage time when Ashley Sanchez capitalized on an empty Pride net, sending in a bomb from well outside the box. All four Spirit goals came from outside the box, and all four goals represented the Spirit’s four total shots on goal.


Despite early pressure from the Pride, the Spirit controlled this game nearly from whistle to whistle. The side outperformed the Pride in a number of key statistics: shots (+9), shots inside the box (+5), touches in opposition box (+11), final third entries (+26) and crosses (+13). Defender Maddie Elwell performed notably well, leading the team in both final third entries (13) as well as interceptions (2).


Next up, the Spirit travels to the west coast to face off against Angel City FC at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California at 10 p.m. EDT.


-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

Date: May 10, 2023

Venue: Audi Field

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Weather: Sunny, low-70s


Scoring Summary:

Goals 1 2 F
Washington 3 1 4
Orlando 1 1 2

ORL – Tori Hansen – 10’

WAS – Lena Silano – 33’

WAS – Sam Staab – 37’

WAS – Marissa Sheva – 42’

ORL – Ally Watt – 49’

WAS – Ashley Sanchez – 90+4’



WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 3- Sam Staab (9- Tara McKeown 46’); 16- Maddie Elwell; 22- Amber Brooks; 30- Camryn Biegalski; 25- Marissa Sheva; 26- Paige Metayer (7- Inès Jaurena 46’); 39- Chloe Ricketts (27- Riley Tanner 46’); 17- Nicole Douglas (10- Ashley Sanchez – 69’); 20- Civana Kuhlmann (33- Ashley Hatch 60’); 24- Lena Silano

Unused Substitutes: 19- Dorian Bailey; 28- Nicole Barnhart; 18- Lyza Bosselmann; 14- Gabrielle Carle


ORL: 24- Kaylie Collins; 13- Celia Jiménez Delgado (23- Messiah Bright – 76’); 22- Tori Hansen; 26- Caitlin Cosme; 32- Brianna Martinez; 19- Jordyn Listro; 30- Thais Reiss (15- Erika Tymrak – 66’); 25- Kerry Abello; 7- Haley Bugeja (28- Summer Yates 46’); 29- Amanda Allen (36- Maliah Morris 61’); 11- Ally Watt

Unused Substitutes: 8- Mikayla Cluff; 6- Emily Madril; 2- Haley McCutheon; 5- Megan Montefusco


Stats Summary: WAS / ORL

Shots: 18 / 7

Shots On Goal: 4 / 3

Blocked Shots: 7 / 2

Saves: 1 / 0

Tackles Won: 14 / 11

Fouls: 12 / 11

Offsides: 3 / 5


Misconduct Summary:

ORL – Brianna Martínez – 37’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Ashley Hatch – 81’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Inès Jaurena – 85’ – Yellow Card

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