Preview: Spirit kicks off 2024 season against Seattle Reign FC

LukeBennett  |   March 16, 2024
Preview: Spirit kicks off 2024 season against Seattle Reign FC Featured Image

Seattle, Wash. (03/16/2024) – The Washington Spirit will face Seattle Reign FC in both sides’ first match of the 2024 NWSL regular season. The match kicks off at 6:00 p.m. EDT at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington and will broadcast on Monumental Sports Network (MNMT2) for fans in the DMV area. The game will also be streamed on the new NWSL+ platform for fans across the United States and internationally.


The Spirit

The Washington Spirit fell short of clinching a postseason berth after falling to the North Carolina Courage, 0-1, in the team’s final game of the 2023 season. Finishing the season with a 7-6-9 record, the Spirit ironically missed the postseason despite losing the fewest matches in the NWSL. The team was playoff eligible the entire season until the final game and finished one point (30) behind the final playoff-eligible team.

For the third consecutive season, the Spirit will take on Seattle Reign FC in its season opener. This matchup is the second in NWSL history to open a season for three consecutive years – Chicago Red Stars v. Houston Dash (2016-2018). Seattle has lost consecutive season openers with both of those being Spirit home matches. In its eight season openers prior to 2022, Reign FC lost just once (3-4-0).

There has been one goal scored in the four most recent games between the Reign and Spirit (all competitions), the most recent came from Washington in the 2023 NWSL season opener off the foot of Trinity Rodman. The one total goal is the fewest in a four-game span in any fixture in NWSL history (all competitions).

Eight players will look to make their Spirit debuts on Sunday, including six first-year players and two offseason free agent signings – Casey Krueger and Brittany Ratcliffe. The six first-year players include four first round picks – Croix Bethune, Hal Hershfelt, Kate Wiesner and Makenna Morris – who will be vying for starting positions.

However, the Spirit will suffer a crucial absence in its season opener. Rodman will not travel with the team to Seattle after picking up a red card in the final match of 2023. She will be available to play during the Spirit’s home opener against expansion side Bay FC.

Another addition to the Spirit this offseason came in the form of new coaches. Following the historic hiring of Jonatan Giráldez, who will be joining the Spirit following the conclusion of the FC Barcelona Feminí season, the Spirit filled its interim head coaching position with Adrián González, who most recently was the head coach for RCD Espanyol. Look for the Spirit to sport a new style of play as it begins the 2024 season.

The Spirit will truly stand out on Sunday as the team will be sporting its brand new “Spotlight” kits. Recently, the club announced its new kits for the 2024 season, featuring the “Spotlight” and “Blackout” kits that represent a crucial next step in the Spirit’s branding journey.

Next up, the Spirit welcome its fans to Audi Field for the first home match of the season on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and promotions for that match are available now.


The Opposition

Seattle Reign FC (previously OL Reign) enters the new season following a successful 2023 campaign. Seattle finished fourth on the NWSL table with a 9-8-5 record (32 points), just one point more than the final playoff-eligible team. Consecutive 1-0 victories over Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC, respectively, launched Seattle to its third NWSL final appearance in club history where the team would ultimately fall short to NJ/NY Gotham FC. Reign captain and international soccer icon, Megan Rapinoe, tore her achilles in the fifth minute of the championship match in what would be her final professional soccer match of her career.

The most previous clash between the Reign and Spirit came in October of 2023 in what set the NWSL all-time attendance record at 34,130. The match ended in a scoreless draw.

Looking to Sunday, the Reign maintains a strong semblance of its 2023 NWSL Championship roster. Eight of the 11 players who started last year’s Championship match have returned to the club, while 18 of the 26 rostered players on the Reign were also with the club last year.

The Reign not only enter the 2024 campaign with a similar roster and cohesion but veteran leadership under Head Coach Laura Harvey and players Lauren Barnes and Jessica Fishlock.

Harvey enters the 2024 season as the all-time winningest coach in the NWSL at 97 total wins. She also became the first head coach in the NWSL to reach 200 regular season games coached.

Barnes has played 238 games across all competitions for the Reign, while Jess Fishlock has played in 205. They are two of three active players with over 200 appearances.

Despite its roster consistency, the Reign did add three international players: defender Lily Woodham and midfielders Angharad James-Turner and Ji So-Yun. These players arrive in Seattle with the ability to make an immediate impact.

Seattle will hit the road for its second game which comes against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, March 23 at 4:00 p.m EDT.


  • The Washington Spirit owns a 9-13-8 record against Seattle Reign FC. On the road, the Spirit has faired poorly, with a total record of 4-9-5.
  • The Spirit scored 15 regular season goals when on the road last season, tied for third most in the NWSL.
  • Ashley Hatch
    • Is the NWSL’s top goal scorer since 2019 with 35 goals. The next closest player is Sophia Smith with 32 goals.
    • Hatch’s next goal with the Spirit will give her as many goals as the second (Matheson, 23) and third (Dunn, 17) all-time leading Spirit scorers combined.
    • If she scores one more goal, she will become the fifth player in NWSL history to score 40 goals with one club. Christine Sinclair (POR, 62), Megan Rapinoe (SEA, 51), Lynn Williams (NC, 42), and Jess Fishlock (SEA, 42) are the only players to accomplish this feat.
  • Tara McKeown
    • McKeown, who converted from forward to center back last season, led the NWSL in clearances with 109, despite missing the final match of the season due to yellow card accumulation. The next closest player had 100.
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