Players to watch:
Spirit forward Ashley Hatch scored her fourth goal of 2023 against Chicago, tying her with Portland’s Sophia Smith and Kansas City’s Debinha for top scoring honors this year. Since the beginning of 2021, Hatch has scored 23 goals in league play but does not have a single assist. The next-most goals without an assist in that span is 12 by Houston forward Diana Ordóñez. In addition, through Washington’s five league games played to date, the only other player to have scored is forward Trinity Rodman, who boasts two goals.
San Diego forward Jaedyn Shaw scored her third goal of the season in San Diego’s 3-1 loss to Orlando on Saturday. The 18-year-old has scored six career regular season goals, as many as all other players prior to turning 19 in NWSL history (Olivia Moultrie – 3, Alyssa Thompson – 2, Ellie Carpenter – 1). Shaw is tied with forward Alex Morgan for most goals on the Wave through five games with three each, with teammates Makenzy Doniak, Amirah Ali, and Sofia Jakobsson all contributing one to boot.
Match facts: A nationally televised match on CBS pits two of the hottest teams to start the year against each other as the Washington Spirit welcome San Diego Wave FC to Audi Field on Saturday afternoon with plenty of attacking talent to display on both sides. The Wave and Spirit currently sit back-to-back in the NWSL standings as well, with San Diego on 9 points (W3 L2) from five games and Washington still unbeaten with 9 points of their own (W2 D3).
The Spirit played to a 1-1 draw with the Red Stars in their last match despite finishing the game with an expected goals value of 2.92, the third highest xG of any team in an NWSL match this season. Dating back to last season, Washington is winless in their last six games when having an xG of 2.0 or higher (D3 L3). However, the draw continued the club’s unbeaten stretch and has put it in position to continue its best start to a league campaign in history.
On the other side, in their last road match, the Wave scored a 2-0 win over Angel City. The result marked San Diego’s sixth road shutout win in league play since joining NWSL last season, and no other NWSL team has more than three clean sheet victories on the road in regular season play in that time. However, their only other road game played to date came one week prior when the side dropped a 1-0 result at Lumen Field against OL Reign.
San Diego and Washington split the series last season with the Wave winning 2-1 at home and the Spirit taking a 4-3 home victory. Washington’s home win was just the second time the team has ever won a regular season match when conceding three or more goals (W2 D4 L30 excludes forfeits).