Trinity Rodman’s playmaking helps Spirit beat Royals – Equalizer Soccer

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Trinity Rodman

It’s hard to talk about the Washington Spirit without focusing on Trinity Rodman. The dynamic 21-year-old, who plays as a right forward for both the Spirit and the US women’s national team, has historically contributed to her teams most profoundly with her speed and scoring. But her greatest endowment to the Spirit so far in 2024 has been through her playmaking. Sunday’s match between the Spirit and the recently-rebooted Utah Royals, which resulted in a 2-1 victory for Washington, featured a successful assist from Rodman, as well as numerous attempted ones and dynamic ball movement throughout the full ninety.

The Spirit dominated the first half of Sunday’s match, but the Royals gave them a true test towards the end. Utah struggled to generate consistent offensive chances in the first half, whereas the Spirit were able to convert two goals. The first goal, a penalty kick, was taken by Andi Sullivan in the 21st minute, filling in for Ashley Hatch, who normally steps up to the task but was ruled out of Sunday’s game for a hip injury. The second goal, a header scored by Ouleymata Sarr in the 30th minute, was assisted by none other than Rodman. The assist marked Rodman’s 17th as a member of the Spirit, making her Washington’s all-time leader in assists.

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Although the goal in the 30th minute would be the last the Spirit would score for the day, it was enough to help them maintain the lead. Furthermore, it was the second of six total attempts on Sunday by Rodman and Sarr to team up together for a goal, rotating roles of striker and assist-er. The Royals conjured up offensive energy in the second half, which resulted in a goal in the 71st minute by rookie and No. 1 draft pick Ally Sentnor. They also fired off a handful of other offensive attempts which were stymied by defensive prowess from goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury. The Royals by no means allowed the Spirit to collect an easy victory; these second-half challenges required Rodman to continue doing what she does best – not only generating scoring chances, but also using the middle of the field to create plays for her teammates, and recovering on defense as well. During a halftime broadcast, Rodman stated that she “likes to be unpredictable,” and this preference of hers was on display all day Sunday as she utilized the length of the field to help her teammates and put them in scoring positions.

The Spirit sit in fourth place in the NWSL table and will look to Rodman to generate more scoring opportunities as they take on their next opponents, the Houston Dash, on April 12. Spirit interim coach Adrian Gonzalez will surely continue relying on Rodman to be a dynamic hybrid of right winger and full back. In the match’s post-game conference, coach Gonzalez praised Rodman for having “lots of potential” and recognized how often her teammates were able to find her as she ran up and down the field. But on the national team level, might incoming coach Emma Hayes spot Rodman’s potential to be a full back? Rodman emulates national team full back Crystal Dunn in her ability to both attack and recover, and she could easily slot into the spot Kelley O’Hara will leave behind on the national team when her international career begins to wind down. Additionally, with the return of Mallory Swanson and Catarina Macario and the emergence of youth talents Jaedyn Shaw and Alyssa Thompson, the USWNT’s front line is getting a little crowded. For club, Rodman belongs where she stands, but for country, perhaps Hayes can help her reach her full potential.

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