After two home matches, NWSL new kids Angel City FC travel from coast-to-coast to face the Washington Spirit at Audi Field. While Angel City rode the high of their long-awaited inaugural home match to a 2-1 win over North Carolina Courage two weeks ago, the Spirit will be looking to move on from last week’s loss 2-1 loss versus the Courage in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup championship game.
Angel City followed up their home win with their first home loss, failing to respond after a third minute goal from Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux. The Spirit’s defeat to North Carolina was their first under Kris Ward, ending a streak of twenty consecutive competitive matches played without a loss.
Given the Spirit’s path to the Challenge Cup championship, in which they faced OL Reign twice in the same week (one regular season match) and North Carolina three times since March 30, they’ll surely be eager to face an unfamiliar opponent. That, plus the chance to get back to the winning they’re accustomed to, plus Ashley Sanchez & Trinity Rodman v. Christen Press & Jun Endo, makes this one as can’t-miss as early regular season games get.
After this match the Spirit are away from home until June 1, and won’t have another match at Audi Field until July 17. As such, it is this writer’s opinion that you should definitely, absolutely and unequivocally go to this match.
Location: Audi Field; Washington, DC (GO TO THE GAME)
Kickoff time: 5:00pm Eastern
Referee: Anya Voigt
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Paramount+, Twitch (int’l)
Washington Spirit team news: OUT - Jordan Baggett (concussion), Averie Collins (knee), Tori Huster (SEI - left lower leg), Tara McKeown (foot), Gaby Vincent (calf); QUESTIONABLE - Kelley O’Hara (hamstring), Andi Sullivan (calf)
The best news is that Jordan Baggett is back home and has visited the team at least once during the week. She’s still in the concussion protocol, but the prognosis at the moment is as good as could be hoped for.
During his pre-match presser, head coach Kris Ward noted that Andi Sullivan is almost back from her lingering calf issue but is probably a week away from playing time. Meanwhile, given the plethora of east coast-based players in NJ/NY and North Carolina who landed on the NWSL’s COVID-19 protocols list, it’s very good news that the Spirit have, so far, avoided this latest wave.
One fun nugget is that this will be the first time Trinity Rodman will share the pitch with a player she told me she admires a lot and wants to emulate: Christen Press.
Angel City team news: OUT - Sarah Gorden (right knee), Ali Riley (COVID-19 protocol), M.A. Vignola (right hip); QUESTIONABLE - Simone Charley (right knee)
Familiar name and face, Paige Nielsen, is getting closer to her debut with Angel City. Nielsen’s pairing with Sam Staab molded one of the most athletically talented defenses in the NWSL. Since joining Angel City, she has had some rather serious medical concerns to fight through and manage. I suggest reading her firsthand account of her diagnosis, surgeries and recovery, because it’s truly amazing that she’s nearing a return to the pitch.