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 Washington Spirit

Spirit Victorious Over Angel City FC off Four-Goal First Half

May 18, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Washington Spirit News Release

Washington, D.C. - The rain cleared in Washington, D.C. just in time for the Spirit and Angel City FC to face off during Salute to Service Night at Audi Field. The Spirit, victorious 4-2, moved into second place on the NWSL Table as of Saturday night with 21 points (7-3-0).

The night became one of setting records: the Spirit marked a new club record with four first-half goals while Angel City FC started sisters Alyssa Thompson and Gisele Thompson, the first time sisters have ever started in the same NWSL match.

The Spirit had a promising start of the first half by pressing high and connecting in the final third. Midfielder Croix Bethune set the tone early on with a shot that grazed the outside left of the goal post. Soon after, forward Trinity Rodman broke the tie with a one-touch goal in the ninth minute off an assist from Ouleye Sarr. This marked Sarr's second assist of the season.

Angel City responded by turning up the attack, creating confusion in the Spirit box and forcing an own goal off the foot of defender Annaïg Butel in the 20th minute. Shortly after, Angel City collected a free kick just outside the top left of the box, and forward Sydney Leroux converted it into a goal with her head putting Angel City in the lead. Leroux actually scored the first-ever goal against the Spirit in 2013, and her goal today marked her 44th, pulling her out of a tie for 10th all-time in NWSL history.

Down a goal, the Spirit continued to press high on the Los Angeles-based side. The momentum of the game changed in the Spirit's favor after another Rodman goal brought the tally to 2-2 in the 30th minute of the game. This was the second regular season brace of Rodman's career, helping her to pass Crystal Dunn (17) for third in club history in regular season goals with her 17th and 18th strikes. Defender Casey Kruger joined the fun, burying the ball in the back of the net in the 34th minute after a ping-pong of shots from the Spirit inside the Angel City box. The goal was Krueger's first of the year.

Getting in on the action, Sarr locked in the Spirit's fourth goal two minutes later off an assist from Bethune - her second assist of the match. This was Bethune's sixth assist this season, tying the club record for single season assists (Diana Matheson, 2014; Trinity Rodman, 2021).

The first half ended with a milestone - the six goals scored in the first 36 minutes of the match clocked in as the fastest six goals from kickoff to have ever been scored in a match in NWSL history.

The start of the second half saw an even back-and-forth between the teams, with the first significant scoring opportunity coming from Angel City forward Alyssa Thompson in the 58th minute. Up until that point, Angel City attempted the previous six shots, and the last Spirit shot was taken in the first half. Goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury ended the onslaught of Angel City attempts with a diving save in the 60th minute.

Surrounded by Angel City defenders, Ashley Hatch broke away and took a shot that was blocked by the LA keeper, rebounded and hit another shot just over the crossbar. The grittiness of the second half pushed Angel City to collect three yellow cards. The six minutes of stoppage time concluded with the Spirit holding onto its 4-2 lead and marking the third time this year the Spirit came from behind to win.

The win marked the team's seventh win, matching last year's regular season total. Additionally, the Spirit extended its unbeaten streak when up at halftime to 24 matches.

Next up, the Spirit takes on Seattle Reign FC at home next Friday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Fans can get tickets to this special Pitchside Pups match here.

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs. Angel City FC

Date: Saturday, May 18, 2024

Venue: Audi Field (Washington, D.C.)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Weather: Overcast, mid-60s


WAS: 1 - Aubrey Kingsbury; 3 - Casey Krueger; 5 - Annaïg Butel; 9 - Tara McKeown; 14 - Gabby Carle; 17 - Hal Hershfelt; 12 - Andi Sullivan (26 - Paige Metayer, 87'); 7- Croix Bethune (4 - Lena Silano, 87'); 11 - Ouleye Sarr (6 - Kate Wiesner, 45+4'); 2 - Trinity Rodman (13 - Brittany Ratcliffe, 87'); 33 - Ashley Hatch (16 - Courtney Brown, 70')

Unused Substitutes: 28 - Nicole Barnhart; 39 - Chloe Ricketts; 22 - Heather Stainbrook

LA: 1 - DiDi Haračić; 20 - Gisele Thompson; 6 - Megan Reid; 27 - Madison Curry; 11 - Sarah Gorden (3 - Jasmyne Spencer, 15'); 7 - Rocky Rodríguez; 29 - Clarisse Le Bihan (16 - M.A. Vignola, 70'); 28 - Lily Nabet (99 - Madison Hammond, 70'); 21 - Alyssa Thompson (12 - Merritt Mathias, 77'); 2 - Sydney Leroux (24 - Messiah Bright, 77'); 10 - Claire Emslie

Unused Substitutes: 19 - Angelina Anderson; 17 - Kennedy Fuller; 33 - Katie Johnson; 1 - Hannah Stambaugh

Stats Summary: WAS / LA

Shots: 15 / 13

Shots On Goal: 7 / 3

Tackles Won: 9 / 7

Fouls: 13 / 12

Offsides: 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:

LA - Lily Nabet - 43' - Yellow Card

LA - Madison Curry - 45+2' - Yellow Card

LA - Jasmyne Spencer - 61' - Yellow Card

LA - Gisele Thompson - 65' - Yellow Card

LA - Claire Emslie - 90+4' - Yellow Card

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