Preview: Spirit to face Orlando Pride in highly anticipated matchup at Audi Field

Washington Spirit  |   April 25, 2024
Preview: Spirit to face Orlando Pride in highly anticipated matchup at Audi Field Featured Image

Washington, D.C. (04/25/2024) – The Washington Spirit will face the Orlando Pride in both sides’ sixth match of the 2024 NWSL regular season. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. and will be broadcast locally on MNMT2. The match can also be streamed on NWSL+. 


The Spirit 

The Spirit enters the match having picked up four straight victories following the season opener’s loss at Seattle. Last match, the Spirit decisively defeated NJ/NY Gotham FC, 2-0, in a Black Out match at Audi Field, witnessed by a crowd of over 15,000 people, marking the fourth-largest crowd in Spirit history. The victory also signaled the team’s longest win streak since earning five straight victories from October 2021 to May 2022. The streak equals the longest single-season win streak in Spirit regular season history, matching the four-game win streak that culminated in the 2021 NWSL Championship.  


Rookie Croix Bethune shined in the previous match and will look to keep the momentum going. She became the third player in Spirit history to score three goals in their first five appearances with the team, joining Mallory Swanson and Diana Matheson. Bethune’s goal enabled the Spirit to enter the second half with a lead, and the Spirit capitalized, extending its unbeaten streak when leading at the half to 21 regular season matches (dating back to October 2017). Currently sitting in second place on the NWSL table, the Spirit propelled itself to its best start since 2016.  


Looking to Orlando, both teams enter the match garnering significant praise for recent form. All signs indicate Friday’s matchup will be an evenly contested one. This tracks historically, too: The all-time regular season series is split 6-6-6 through 18 games, with a goal differential of 0 (25-25).  


Despite stringing together a seven-match unbeaten streak from August 2019 to July 2022, the Spirit got swept in last year’s regular season series against Orlando with a goal differential of -4 (1-5). The Spirit also has yet to pick up a win against the Pride since the 2021 Championship season.  


A player to watch is Trinity Rodman. The 21-year-old forward leads the Spirit in shots (14) and shots on target (6) and is tied for the most assists (2). She also has created seven big chances this season, nearly double the next closest player (4) in the NWSL. Rodman has yet to find the back of the net this season but is certainly due for one for a score. 


Additionally, Spirit forward Ashley Hatch is primed to make an impact. As the all-time leading Spirit goal scorer versus Orlando (8), Hatch looks to build upon her goal-scoring performance against Gotham FC. Nailing the insurance goal in last match, Hatch marked her 40th regular season goal with the Spirit, becoming the fifth player in NWSL history to score 40 such goals with one club. She joined NWSL legends Megan Rapinoe (SEA), Lynn Williams (NC), Christine Sinclair (POR) and Jess Fishlock (SEA). 


After Friday’s match against the Pride, the Spirit hits the road, embarking on a three-game road trip that spans until May 10. First, the Spirit will face off against the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. EDT.  


The Opposition 

The Orlando Pride travels to Audi Field with two consecutive victories under its belt. Most recently, the Pride defeated San Diego Wave FC, 1-0, at home. Prior to that, the Pride handled Utah Royals FC, 1-0, as well. Summer Yates scored the game-winning goal against San Diego, her second of the season and first game-winning goal. The two straight victories help the Pride rank fifth on the NWSL table, a mere four points from the first-place Kansas City Current.  


Having not dropped a game this season, the Pride is one of three teams in the league to remain unbeaten. Orlando is unbeaten (W2, D3) through five games of a season for the second time in team history (2021). The Pride has conceded just four goals in 2024, tied for its fewest at this point of a season (2016 and 2021). Last year, Orlando conceded four goals in the first 76 minutes of the season. 


Additionally, Orlando has scored in its last nine games in the NWSL, its longest run of games with a goal in league play since a run of nine games from October 13, 2019 to June 27, 2021. 


Of note last week, the Pride saw two highly anticipated signees make their season debuts. Defender Rafaelle came on as a second-half substitute to make her season debut for Orlando, coming off a preseason injury. Barbra Banda made her Pride debut in the 61st minute. Banda officially arrived in Florida and joined the team last week after helping Zambia qualify for the Olympics.


The Pride has found success against the Spirit as of late. The last league match between the Spirit and Pride was a 3-0 road win for Orlando in July 2023. That victory is tied for Orlando’s largest road win, with its only other three-goal away win coming in the 2018 season at Chicago (5-2 victory). 


Marta has scored four goals in her five career road games against the Spirit in the regular season. Her 0.95 goals per 90 minutes at Washington is the best of any player who has played in at least five regular season road games against the Spirit. She also is the all-time leading Pride goal scorer against the Spirit with nine goals.  


Next up, Orlando faces the North Carolina Courage on Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. EDT.   



• The Washington Spirit owns an even 6-6-6 regular season all-time record versus the Orlando Pride. Over 18 games, the goal differential is also deadlocked (25-25). The series historically favors the home side, which bodes well for the Spirit: Home teams in the series have a record of 4-2-3. The Spirit’s 3-0 defeat last July to the Pride marked the first ever loss to Orlando at Audi Field.  

• The Spirit has tallied 18 big chances this season, the most in the NWSL.  

• Defender Casey Krueger picked up her second assist of the season last match. It marked the first time in Krueger’s career to log assists in back-to-back matches.  

• The Spirit earned its 50th regular season shutout in team history after last week’s 2-0 win. 

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