Washington Spirit Participate in Record-Setting NWSL Match (Highest Attendance)

The Washington Spirit drew, 0-0, with OL Reign in a thrilling contest. A record-setting 34,130 fans attended the match, becoming the largest crowd in NWSL history. The Spirit played their home games in Germantown full-time from the team’s first season in 2013 until the 2018 season. For the next two seasons, the team split its time between various stadiums including its current home stadium of Audi Field.

Former USWMNT player Megan Rapinoe was honored before and after the match in what was the final regular season home match of her career. Even though the Spirit rallied late with several near-goals, the score remained level after 90 minutes. Following the pregame ceremonies, the nationally televised bout between the Spirit and Reign began without much affair. The first 25 minutes of play saw both teams jockeying for chances without success. In that time, there were no shots on target and the Spirit was statistically outplayed. OL Reign controlled over 60% of possession, doubled the Spirit’s passes and logged ten touches in the opponent’s box compared to the Spirit’s one.

Spirit forward Trinity Rodman generated the Spirit’s first real chances at goal, logging two shots in the 27th and 28th minutes, respectively. The first, Rodman displayed a masterclass in footwork, losing a Reign defender in the box but sailed the shot above the frame. A minute later, defender Sam Staab whipped in a free kick with pace, meeting Rodman’s foot, but the shot connected with the side of the netting.

Despite the lack of action, the energy from both teams was ever-present. Things got chippy with Staab and Head Coach Mark Parsons earning yellow cards within a few minutes of each other at the end of the first half.

The first 45 minutes of action finished in a scoreless draw, the fifth time in the last six matches for the Spirit. OL Reign has failed to score a first-half goal in 15 of its 21 games, only Gotham FC (16) has failed to score in the first half more often.

Ashley Sanchez got things started for the Spirit in the second half, marching into the box as she yo-yoed the ball between her feet before setting up Ashley Hatchfor a strike inside the box. Hatch’s shot went wide of the goal. Hatch fed Rodman moments later, but the shot was saved by Reign keeper Claudia Dickey. Rodman and Hatch combined for the Spirit’s first eight shots.

Megan Rapinoe elicited a sonic boom from the NWSL record-setting crowd of over 34,000 fans as she broke away in the 61st minute and delivered a laser at Aubrey Kingsbury who saved the ball with ease.

Midway through the second half, the Spirit flipped the script from the first half. The Spirit controlled over 60% of possession, doubled OL Reign’s second half passing total and recorded ten touches in the opponent’s box compared to OL Reign’s two.

The draw nearly broke when Staab fed Dorian Bailey, who subbed in for Sanchez and sent a shot from well outside the box toward the upper 90 of the OL Reign goal in the 89th minute. Claudia Dickey got a glove on it and deflected the would-be goal.

Rodman came even closer, toe-picking the ball in the box toward the bottom left corner of goal in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time, but Dickey’s heroics were too much. Rodman tried again a minute later, and again Dickey stifled a potential game-winning goal.

The thrilling match finished as it started, 0-0. Rodman finished with eight shots, the most of any Spirit player this season, with seven of them coming inside the box. Additionally, Kingsbury earned her 30th career clean sheet, becoming the sixth player in NWSL history to do so.

Next Sunday is Decision Day in the NWSL with every team playing at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, October 15. The Spirit will conclude the regular season at Audi Field on Fan Appreciation Night when the side looks to pack its Buzzard Point home and clinch a playoff spot. To join in on this can’t-miss experience, find tickets here.

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: OL Reign vs. Washington Spirit

Date: October 6, 2023

Venue: Lumen Field

Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Weather: Clear, low-70s

 

Lineups:

RGN: 30- Claudia Dickey; 21- Phoebe McClernon; 3- Lauren Barnes; 2- Emily Sonnett; 22- Ryanne Brown (34- Elyse Bennett, 73′); 5- Quinn; 33- Olivia Van der Jagt; 15- Megan Rapinoe; 10- Jess Fishlock; 24- Veronica Latsko; 8- Bethany Balcer (9- Jordyn Huitema, 66′)

 

Unused Substitutes: 6- Angelina; 12- Olivia Athens; 17- Sam Hiatt; 25- Shae Holmes; 18- Laurel Ivory; 23- Tziarra King; 20- Alyssa Malonson

 

WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 14- Gabrielle Carle; 3- Sam Staab; 9- Tara McKeown; 5- Annaïg Butel; 26- Paige Metayer; 10- Ashley Sanchez (19- Dorian Bailey, 83′); 12- Andi Sullivan; 8- Ouleymata Sarr (30- Camryn Biegalski, 65′); 33- Ashley Hatch; 2- Trinity Rodman

 

Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 22- Amber Brooks; 16- Maddie Elwell; 13- Bayley Feist; 23- Tori Huster; 39- Chloe Ricketts; 25- Marissa Sheva

 

Stats Summary: RGN / WAS

Shots: 13 / 17

Shots On Goal: 3 / 5

Touches in Opponent Box: 23 / 28

Saves: 5 / 3

Tackles Won: 14 / 3

Fouls: 6 / 11

Offsides: 2 / 2

 

Misconduct Summary:

WAS – Sam Staab – 42′

WAS – Bench – 44′

WAS – Ouleymata Sarr – 46′

RGN – Emily Sonnett – 56′

WAS – Andi Sullivan – 66′

RGN – Veronica Latsko – 84′

WAS – Tara McKeown – 90’+7′

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