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Recent Spirit results show just how crucial opening minutes can be

The Spirit are producing reliable results, but they struggle with one consistent issue

Trinity Rodman tries to receive ball from Chicago Red Stars forward Penelope Hocking
Photo credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

In the past ten days the Washington Spirit have played three games — and lost two of them. The Spirit, who sit at third place in the NWSL and are 5–3–0 on the season, are not so discouraged by these recent results. They played competitively and were not shut out in either of their losses. There is, however, a common denominator between their last three matches (both the win and the two losses), and that is the importance of a game’s first few minutes, and how they can set the tone for the rest of the match.

Though a game lasts far longer than its opening moments, in the Spirit’s most recent matches, both what had and had not happened in the opening minutes charted the course for the remainder of the game. In the Spirit’s matchup against the Orlando Pride on April 26, Orlando scored first — a goal from Angelina, assisted by Barbra Banda, in the 22nd minute. But, the Spirit actually had the game’s first chance, with a shot from forward Ouleye Sarr. They just weren’t able to capitalize.

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