Preview: Spirit set to face Seattle Reign FC as three-game win streak is in sight

Washington Spirit  |   May 23, 2024
Preview: Spirit set to face Seattle Reign FC as three-game win streak is in sight Featured Image

Washington, D.C. (05/23/2024) – The Washington Spirit will face Seattle Reign FC in match #11 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 Monumental Sports Network and on NWSL+. Fans can also listen to the team’s first-ever local radio broadcast on or the ESPN 630 AM website or app.


The Spirit

The Spirit enters Friday’s bout against Seattle Reign FC with momentum from one of its most decisive victories of the season.

Defeating Angel City FC, 4-2, the Spirit completely dominated with a scoring frenzy — three goals in less than seven minutes, each scored by a different player.

The victory launches the Spirit to seven wins on the season, already matching last year’s win total.

The final result, 4-2, was also the halftime score, marking a club record for first-half goals (4) and setting an NWSL record for six combined first half goals. This marked the third time this season that the Spirit came from behind to win.

Trinity Rodman scored twice in the match with both goals coming off her left foot. Just three of Rodman’s 19 other goals in all competitions were scored with her left foot (18 with her right foot, one with her head).

Currently, the Spirit sits in third place (21 points) on the NWSL table, only three points away from the top, occupied by an undefeated Orlando side. However, Portland sits only two points behind the Spirit, so getting three points against Seattle is crucial.

The last time the Spirit faced off against Seattle was the first game of the season when the Reign shut out the Spirit, 1-0. After conceding a penalty kick in the opening seconds, the Spirit was unable to equalize the match. Casey Krueger did put a ball in the back of the net off a corner kick, but it would be disallowed due to a foul called against Washington.

This marked one of the poorer performances by the Spirit this season, but the side has not looked back since, taking three points in seven of its last nine matches.

Since the loss to the Reign, the Spirit has scored in nine straight games while scoring multiple goals in eight of those. Washington has scored four goals in two different games this month after having done so in multiple league games only once in a single regular season before (2017).

Since last Saturday’s match, a statistical correction was issued to the Spirit’s first goal, originally credited to rookie midfielder Croix Bethune on May 10 match in Louisville, giving forward Ouleye Sarr the goal and Bethune the assist. In doing so, Bethune now owns the Spirit single season assist record and the NWSL record for rookie assists. She also became the only player in NWSL history to log seven assists in a five-game span. Look for her to prove vital in the Spirit attack on Friday.

The correction also affects Sarr, who now has five goals on the season, tying her for third in the NWSL Golden Boot race.

With no match next week, the Spirit will take a much-deserved break before heading west to face Utah Royals FC on Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.


The Opposition

Most recently, Seattle fell to the red-hot Orlando Pride, 2-3, in front of its home crowd at Lumen Field. A highlight from the match is Bethany Balcer’s goal that equalized the match at two goals apiece. Later, in the same match, she was awarded a second yellow card and sent off the pitch. She will not be available for tomorrow night’s match.

Balcer became the fifth player in NWSL history to have a goal and red card in the same game. The goal was the 38th of Balcer’s career (all competitions) with only Debinha (51), Ashley Hatch (47) and Sophia Smith (45) having more since the beginning of Balcer’s debut season in 2019.

Balcer’s absence as the Reign’s top scoring option will be a welcome change for the Spirit backline and force Seattle to come up with different options.

Jess Fishlock’s assist to Balcer in last week’s match helped her set a new club record for most assists in Reign FC history (27). The veteran has the most all-time assists for a single club among all NWSL players. Fishlock also holds the record for the most goals by a Seattle player in the all-time series between the Reign and Spirit with seven.

With a 2-7-1 record (7 points), Seattle sits at 13th place on the NWSL table. After opening the season with a win against the Spirit, the Reign has only won one match. Both Seattle wins this season have come by a single goal.

The Seattle season opener win in March ended an 11-game winless streak in all competitions against Washington for the Reign (excluding the forfeit win in 2021), the longest on-the-field winless streak against a single opponent in team history.

The Reign has scored multiple goals in three different games this season but two of those have been losses (Bay FC & Orlando). It’s the first time in a single season the club has had multiple losses in matches it scored 2+ goals in. The team had gone unbeaten in the previous 54 matches in all competitions in which they scored multiple goals dating back to September 2017.

Finally, look for Seattle to sport a unique lineup on Friday, Balcer’s absence aside. Through ten matches this season, the Reign has not duplicated a starting XI. Defender Sofia Huerta is the only player to start in all 10 games and play every available minute for Seattle.

Next up, Seattle plays the Kansas City Current for the second time this season on Sunday, June 9 at 6 p.m. EDT.



• The Spirit owns an 8-12-7 regular season record against Seattle Reign FC. However, at Audi Field, the Spirit has never lost in three attempts with a 2-0-1 record, including a 1-0 victory in last year’s season and home opener.

• Last week, the Spirit improved to 5-0-0 this season when leading at the half and extended the club’s unbeaten run when up at the break to 24 (17 wins, 7 ties).

• The six goals scored in 36 minutes during the Washington vs. Angel City match set a record for the fastest a match has seen six goals in NWSL history.

• Defender Casey Krueger scored her first goal as a member of the Washington Spirit last week. The instance marked her first regular season goal since 2021.

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