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Washington, D.C. (06/17/2023) – The Washington Spirit will face the Kansas City Current on Sunday evening in both sides’ 12th regular season match of 2023. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. EDT at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas and will broadcast nationally on Paramount+ for fans across the United States. Fans in the DMV can tune in to NBC Sports Washington to watch the fixture while international viewers can stream the match on NWSLSoccer.com.
Entering the match after just its third loss (all competitions) of 2023, the Spirit looks to get back on track against a struggling Current squad. The 1-2 loss at the hands of the North Carolina Courage came in the team’s third Challenge Cup match of the season. Olivia Wingate scored in the second minute of second half stoppage time to break the Spirit’s heart.
The loss puts the Spirit in third position out of the four-team East Division with three points through three games. It marked the first Challenge Cup loss at Audi Field in team history and the first loss (any competitions) at Audi Field this season. Notably, the Spirit fielded two starters with the largest age gap (25 years) in league history: Nicole Barnhart (born 10/10/1981) and Chloe Ricketts (born 05/23/2007). Over 150 players currently active in the league are younger than the age difference between the two.
The last meeting between the Spirit and Current came in the penultimate game of the 2022 season. The Current defeated the Spirit, 3-0, which was the only game in the fixture not decided by a one-goal margin. All three of the Current goal scorers in that match are still on the team.
The Spirit’s 5-1-5 (20 points) start to the regular season is good for the fewest losses and second-best point total in club history through 11 matches. The 2016 season (7-2-2, 23 points) is the only better start in club history.
Ashley Hatch and Ashley Sanchez scored in the team’s most recent regular season game versus Angel City FC. Those two have scored in the same match six times (five regular season matches). Only Portland’s Christine Sinclair and Sophia Smith have done so in more regular season matches (six times) since the start of the 2021 season. The Spirit is 5-1-0 in those matches.
Following Sunday’s match, the Spirit will continue its road trip in a Friday night match against Portland Thorns FC. The game will kick off at 10 p.m. EDT.
Kansas City comes into the match off its biggest win of the season – a 4-0 Challenge Cup victory against the Chicago Red Stars. All four Current goals came in the second half, including a brace from star forward Debinha, whose two goals came 16 minutes apart. The result was the largest margin of victory in club history.
With a 3-8-0 record (9 points), the Current occupies the 12th and final spot on the NWSL table. The Current is the only team in the NWSL without a draw in league play this season. The team’s most recent regular season match – a 1-2 loss to OL Reign – was its eighth regular season loss of 2023, two more losses than the team suffered the entire 2022 season. Its –9 goal differential is second-worst, behind only Chicago (-14).
The Current struggles to find the back of the net in the opening half. Izzy Rodriguez scored a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time for Kansas City in its loss to the Reign. In regular season play in 2023, the Current have scored 10 goals in the second half (behind only OL Reign and Thorns FC) and just one in the first half of matches (four fewer than any other team).
The Kansas City coaching staff experienced more turnover after a head coaching change only three regular season games into the season and with the hiring of Lee Nguyen as an assistant coach this week. Nguyen is no stranger to the Spirit, having coached on the Spirit for a portion of the 2021 championship season and a majority of the 2022 season.
Next up, the Current hits the road, facing off against the Orlando Pride on Saturday, June 24 at 7 p.m. EDT.