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Washington Spirit Season Preview - Back to the Future

Last season is in the past and that’s where it should be left.

The Washington Spirit, in its tenth year in existence, completed the worst season in franchise history in 2022, finishing in 11th place out of 12 teams.


The team fired its coach mid-season and has now replaced it with a familiar face, Mark Parsons, who has coached the team before and is back after a stint coaching the Netherland’s women’s national team.


In Parsons’ prior three seasons with the Spirit, from 2013-2015, Washington went 20-13-24 in 57 matches, advancing to the semi-finals of the playoffs twice in that span.


Now, Washington is coming off its worst season ever and has only made the playoffs once in the past six years, with that lone appearance resulting in the franchise’s only championship.


It’s back to the future with Parsons as head coach. He was here when the team was in its inaugural season and is back in the midst of the most tumultuous times the team has faced in its history.


It could be playoffs or bust for the Spirit in 2023.

 

Nuts & Bolts

  • 2022 Record: 3-10-9 (19 points, 11th out of 12 in NWSL)

  • Head Coach: Mark Parsons (1st season)

  • Stadium: Audi Field (Since 2018)

  • Full Schedule: HERE

    • Opening Game: March 26 vs. defending champs, OL Reign @ Audi Field

  • History:

    • Founded: 2012

    • MLS Cup Champions: 2021

    • Regular Season Champions: N/A

    • Playoff Appearances: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2021

  • 2022 Stats:

    • Full season stats available HERE

    • Goals for: 26

    • Goals against: 33

  • Follow Along on Twitter

 

Last Season


Last season was a disaster.


The Spirit completed its worst season in franchise history in 2022, winning a record-low three games while recording a league-high 10 draws.


The season was marred by another coach of the team being dismissed for abuse, which has now happened two straight seasons in D.C. The team finished mid-tier in terms of average attendance and was fortunate to not finish in last place in the NWSL.


Forward Ashley Hatch led the team in scoring once again with 9 goals, acting as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dark season in D.C. She has led the Spirit in scoring in four of the last five seasons.

 

This Season

Mark Parsons is back as the head coach of the Washington Spirit. He coached the team from 2013-2015 before moving on to manage the Portland Thorns for four years, where he won a NWSL title in 2017.


From there, Parsons spent nine 11 months in charge of the Netherlands women’s national team, finishing 10-5-3 overall as manager.


The majority of the core for the Spirit is back this season, including Ashley Hatch and 20-year-old Trinity Rodman, who is one of the best young players in the NWSL and has already appeared for the U.S. National Team 15 times.


There will be a lot of new faces in Washington as well. The Spirit return 17 players from last year's squad with the addition of nine new players.


It may take some time for everything to gel, but with a familiar face back in charge of the squad in addition to some continuity in the squad, the 2023 campaign should prove to be much more fruitful for the Spirit.

 

Prediction

  • 9-6-7 overall record, 33 points, finish 6th in NWSL and makes playoffs

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