The Spirit had an active offseason, acquiring U.S. WNT defenders Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett via trade, the former from the then Utah Royals and the latter from the Pride, both likely to make their Washington debuts on Wednesday after returning from international duty. In addition, the side also added some pieces via the 2021 NWSL Draft, signing four draftees to contracts ahead of the Challenge Cup, including No. 2 overall selection Trinity Rodman.
Washington has started the Challenge Cup with both a win and a loss, opening the competition with a 3-2 defeat at North Carolina and bouncing back five days later against Louisville at Audi Field. In a match that looked to be on the way to ending in a scoreless draw, forward Ashley Sanchez bagged the game-winner in second half stoppage time.
In addition to Sanchez, Rodman and Kumi Yokoyama have accounted for Washington’s three finishes throughout the NWSL Challenge Cup. With just two appearances in league play under her belt, Rodman leads the Spirit with two goal contributions, finding the back of the net against North Carolina before earning the assist on Sanchez’s game-winner against Louisville last week. The forward’s goal against the Courage saw her become the youngest goalscorer in NWSL history.
The Pride hold a 4-5-2 record against the Spirit throughout Club history, with a 3-2-1 record in The City Beautiful. In the 2019 NWSL campaign, the Pride went 1-0-1 against the Spirit at home, that win coming in a 4-3 thriller on July 6 with Marta bagging a brace on the night along with finishes from former Pride forwards Chioma Ubogague and Rachel Hill.
Rasmussen College Fun Fact
The Pride added two former players from Washington this past offseason in midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard and forward Crystal Thomas. Acquired via trade, Dougherty Howard registered two assists in her Pride debut against Louisville just under two weeks ago, good for the league lead through two weeks of Challenge Cup play. After joining the Pride as a preseason trialist earlier this year, Thomas signed a one-year deal with the Club, having yet to appear in purple due to injury.