Preview: Spirit Faces Challenging Road Test in West Coast Battle versus Angel City

Washington Spirit  |   May 12, 2023
Preview: Spirit Faces Challenging Road Test in West Coast Battle versus Angel City Featured Image

Los Angeles, Calif. (05/12/2023) – The Washington Spirit will face Angel City FC on Saturday night in both sides’ seventh match of the regular season. The match kicks off at 10 p.m. EDT at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California and will broadcast nationally on Paramount+ for fans across the United States. International viewers can stream the match on as well.


The Spirit

Unbeaten through six games to start the regular season, the Spirit is off to the club’s longest unbeaten streak to start a season. Most recently, the Spirit defeated the Orlando Pride 4-2 in a Challenge Cup match on Wednesday. The result trampolined the Spirit to second in the East Division table of the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup. In that match, the Spirit became the first team in NWSL history (any competition) to record four goals from outside of the box – Lena Silano (33’), Sam Staab (38’), Marissa Sheva (42’) and Ashley Sanchez (90+4’).


The 4-2 decision over the Pride marked the Spirit’s second consecutive victory by a two-goal margin within a four-day window. Last Saturday, the Spirit defeated San Diego Wave FC 3-1 during a nationally televised match on CBS. In those two matches, six different Spirit players accounted for the team’s seven total goals. Trinity Rodmanwho scored first against San Diego, became the first player in NWSL history to score ten goals and ten assists before turning 21 years old. Additionally, in those games, Paige Metayer, Silano and Sheva all scored their first career NWSL goals.


The Spirit owns a 1-0-2 record on the road this season, defeating only North Carolina. The two draws came against Louisville and Chicago and, in both instances, the Spirit more than doubled the opposition’s expected goal value but couldn’t execute on great scoring chances.


To this end, the Spirit is second in the NWSL this season with a cumulative expected goal value of 6.27 during road matches. The team also ranks first in the NWSL with a total of eight big chances on the road.


Forward Ashley Hatch remains tied for the Golden Boot lead with esteemed company from around the League – Debhina (KC), Crystal Dunn (POR), Alex Morgan (SD), Sophia Smith (POR) and Lynn Williams (NJ/NY).


Following Wednesday’s match, the Spirit will face the Orlando Pride for the second time in ten days, this time in a regular season bout on the road at 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 20.


The Opposition

Angel City FC most recently defeated the Kansas City Current 3-2, snapping a five-game winless streak and earning the side’s first home victory of the season. Through all competitions this season, Angel City is 1-3-1 at home and has been outscored by four goals in those matches. ACFC’s eight goals conceded are the most home goals allowed of any team in the NWSL. Despite this, Angel City’s attack is among the league’s best at home – expected goals (5.29 – 3rd), shots (67 – T-2nd), shots on goal (18 – T-2nd). This marks a change from last season when five of the team’s eight total regular season victories came at home. Notwithstanding, the environment at BMO Stadium has been electric this season, with two crowds of over 20,000 people so far in 2023.


ACFC holds a 2-2-2 record and sits in the sixth position on the NWSL table – the league’s final playoff-eligible spot. Notably, Angel City will be coming off a full week’s rest, having not played in a Challenge Cup match like the Spirit.


Angel City has scored three times in each of its last two league games after doing so just twice in the team’s first 26 regular season matches. Jun Endo has been a large part of ACFC’s attack. She scored and recorded an assist in Angel City’s win on Sunday, setting up a goal for Claire Emslie. Endo has six assists for Angel City in all NWSL competitions, twice as many as any other player, with those six assists setting up goals for six different teammates.


Angel City won both of its meetings against the Washington Spirit last season. The Spirit is the only team Angel City has record consecutive wins against in all NWSL competitions.


Angel City’s first overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft, Alyssa Thompson, has not disappointed this season. Thompson started and scored in her NWSL debut on March 26. She joins Jaedyn Shawn (SD) and Ally Schlegel (CHI) as the only players to do so in the regular season. The Spirit’s Rodman also did so in the 2021 Challenge Cup. Thompson has three goals this season which leads the team and is tied with players like Rodman, Shaw and Kerolin among others.


Next up, Angel City hits the road, traveling to Cary, North CarolinaCo face off against the Courage on Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. EDT.



  • The Spirit and Portland Thorns FC are the first pair of teams to go unbeaten through six matches of the same season in NWSL history.
  • The Spirit and Angel City are two of the most disciplined teams with 10 and 9 yellow cards this season, tied for most and third-most in the NWSL, respectively.
  • Since the start of the 2021 season, Ashley Hatch (30), Trinity Rodman (19) and Ashley Sanchez (13) have scored 62 goals for the Spirit in all NWSL competitions, more than any other trio of teammates in that time. The trio has combined to score eight of the Spirit’s nine regular season goals this year.
  • Former Spirit players meet again:
    • Angel City defender Paige Nielsen was with the Spirit from 2019-21, playing a crucial role on the backline during the Spirit’s 2021 NWSL Championship.
    • Angel City goalkeeper DiDi Haračić played with the Spirit reserves in 2013 and 2016, and with the Spirit from 2016-18.
    • Angel City forward Jasmyne Spencer played with the Spirit in 2013, making 17 appearances.
  • Former college teammates meet again:
    • Spirit midfielder Paige Metayer played with Angel City goalkeeper Angelina Anderson at California (2019-21).
    • Spirit defender Maddie Elwell played with Angel City forward Simone Charley at Vanderbilt (2017).
    • Spirit midfielder Bayley Feist played with Angel City defender Madison Hammond at Wake Forest (2016 – 18).
    • Spirit defender Dorian Bailey played with Angel City defender Paige Nielsen at UNC (2015).
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