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Game Preview - Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

Washington Spirit (0-0-1) vs. Orlando Pride (0-1-0)

Nuts & Bolts

  • Head Coach: Mark Parsons (1st season)

  • Record: 3-3-1 All Competitions (0-0-1 in NWSL Challenge Cup)

  • Last Time Out: Def. San Diego 3-1 in NWSL Regular Season on 5/6

  • Player to Watch: Ashley Sanchez

For the very first time, I’ll be covering a professional sporting event in person on Wednesday night as the Washington Spirit play host to the Orlando Pride for Matchday 2 of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Last season, the Spirit finished in second-to-last place in the NWSL regular season, but went on a run all the way to the NWSL Challenge Cup final before losing to North Carolina 2-1.

The competition gives all 12 teams something to play for, regardless of how the NWSL regular season is going.

On Matchday 1, the Spirit put in a poor performance and lost its only game thus far in 2023, a 1-0 loss to Gotham FC.

On Wednesday, Washington welcomes the Orlando Pride to Audi Field. The Pride currently sit 10th in the NWSL and managed a draw in its first game of the Challenge Cup.

It should be a beautiful night in D.C. in what is turning out to be a crucial match for Washington, who could really use some points to get back on track in the competition.

  • Head Coach: Seb Hines (2nd season, 5-6-11 record)

  • Record: 2-1-4 All Competitions (0-1-0 in NWSL Challenge Cup)

  • Last Time Out: Def. Louisville 1-0 in NWSL Regular Season on 5/6

  • Player to Watch: Messiah Bright

The Pride started 0-0-4 in the NWSL regular season but have turned things around in short order, winning its last two games over San Diego and Louisville, 3-1 and 1-0, respectively.

In 2022, Orlando finished in 10th, just one spot ahead of Washington in the NWSL final standings. Currently, they sit in the same position just six games into the season.

On Matchday 1 of the NWSL Challenge Cup, Orlando secured a 1-1 draw against North Carolina, which was the first positive result across all competitions at the time.

Ally Watt scored in the 56th minute for Orlando before a heartbreaking 99th minute equalizer was scored by North Carolina’s Denise O’Sullivan to steal a point for the visitors.

The Pride have struggled to score in 2023, scoring just six goals in seven matches, while allowing 12. However, the team is coming off its first clean sheet of the year after a 1-0 win on Saturday and will look to build off that momentum in D.C. on Wednesday.


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