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Spirit see offseason moves pay off in comeback win over Dash

The Spirit’s productive offseason – as well as their coach’s trust – are paying off early this NWSL season

Photo Copyright Maria Lysaker for USA TODAY Sports.

The Washington Spirit’s 3-1 comeback win over the Houston Dash on April 12 was a testament to why it’s important to have a productive offseason. It was also a statement about the value of veteran players. 

Though the Spirit got off to an ugly start on Friday night, going down 1-0 within the first minute, the team’s three second-half goals – including two that came within two minutes of each other – were all scored by players acquired in January, in the lead-up to the 2024 season.

Hal Hershfelt, who scored the Spirit’s first goal in the 52nd minute, and Croix Bethune, who scored the Spirit’s third goal in the 84th, are both rookie signings picked up by the Spirit in the 2024 NWSL draft. Brittany Ratcliffe, an NWSL veteran and the scorer of the Spirit’s go-ahead goal in the 82nd, was acquired by Washington in the offseason as a free agent. 

Much of the reason the Spirit’s new signings have been able to seize so many opportunities is the team’s old guard has remained so reliable. “I did not expect to have two goals this early on,” expressed Hershfelt, who scored her first NWSL goal in the team’s March 23 home opener win over Bay FC. “But I give credit to my teammates … they’re going to hold it down if I get a chance to go up.” 

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