What’s wrong with the Spirit? Diagnosing the champs’ woes after Ward’s ousting – Equalizer Soccer
After their championship-winning 2021 season, the Washington Spirit began their quest for back-to-back National Women’s Soccer League titles earlier this year with high expectations. At the start of the Challenge Cup, they were returning players that accounted for 80% of their 2021 minutes. That mark was the best in the league.
The Spirit then made it to the final of the 2022 Challenge Cup — albeit after a controversial end to their semifinal match against OL Reign — before they were ultimately bested by the North Carolina Courage.
That result against the Courage snapped a 20-game unbeaten streak. Now, they’re on a 17-game winless streak in all competitions and haven’t won a game since their regular-season opener against the OL Reign, which happened before the end of the Challenge Cup. The rut ultimately cost head coach Kris Ward his jobthe club announced with a tweet on Monday.
Through the first 16 games of the regular season, Washington has a 1-6-9 record, which translates to a measly 12 points. They’re above last-place NJ/NY Gotham FC in the standings right now, thanks to Gotham’s minus-20 goal differential, but the Spirit are actually averaging the fewest points per game in the league (0.75 points per game).
Access the best women’s soccer coverage all year long
Start your FREE, 7-day trial of The Equalizer Extra for industry-leading reporting and insight on the USWNT, NWSL and beyond.