One of the major talking points heading into opening weekend the National Women’s Soccer League was how the three teams with new coaches would perform: the Washington Spirit under Richie Burke, the Orlando Pride under Marc Skinner, and the Houston Dash under James Clarkson.
The new hires were met with mixed reactions, from excitement (Skinner) to skepticism (Burke). While it can take an entire season or even more to get the true measure of a coach, each team’s season opener gave us a few clues as to what we’ll be seeing this year.
Joy in Washington … or not?
On the stat sheet, Washington had a great game. They dominated Sky Blue in every column except duels won and translated that to the scoreboard, easily claiming a 2-0 win. Fans have every reason to be pleased with the performance; the Spirit were energetic, eager, and played with a clear game plan that involved quick passing and high pressure. The win, and the goals that earned it, were a far cry from last year’s team that played like they wanted to be anywhere but the field on which they played. The change in not only the coach but majority ownership, and the subsequent off-field improvements, seem to have breathed new life into a Spirit team that has been free-falling since they lost the 2016 NWSL championship.
But – yes, there is a but – we’ll have to wait to make a call on whether or not the new Spirit can find a new place on the table. Quite simply, Sky Blue wasn’t enough of a test.
The entire article is accessible only to members of The Equalizer Extra. Already a member? Awesome! Please sign in below. If not, you can sign up below.
Your accountSign in
Analysis/ 1 day ago
The Equalizer Podcast: Previewing Red Stars, OL Reign, Wave
Bekki Morgan and Taylor Vincent continue the Equalizer Podcast’s NWSL season previews with a...
NWSL/ 2 days ago
For OL Reign, a move back to Starfire is a small step forward for training facilities
• Reign’s move from a Tacoma high school to Starfire is an upgrade, but...
Analysis/ 4 days ago
NWSL preview: Key questions for each team
The 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season is one week away, and it’s time...