Washington Spirit defeated North Carolina Courage, 2-0 at Audi Field in Washington, DC on Saturday. But this Spirit team is about more than just X’s and O’s, wins & losses.
They’re about having confidence.
Confidence your teammates, the coaching staff, the medical staff. Confidence in your preparation.
Confidence was the driver for the Spirit as they took on a red-hot North Carolina Courage team.
“Everyday at practice, we’ve been preparing for this game all week,” said forward Ashley Hatch who scored two goals in this contest. “Doing tons of film, making sure we each know our roles when we get on the field. And I think what helps is that we have confidence in each other so any person who steps out on the field, we believe in them.”
The Washington Spirit came out on the front foot against North Carolina, applied pressure, and getting into the final third early. Spirit continued their confident play early into the second half as North Carolina attempted to breakthrough on goal but were not successful.
“This team is incredible,” said defense Paige Nielsen after the Spirit’s loss to Chicago on July 2nd. “We have incredible depth. Whether we have 19-year olds, 34-year olds, we all know how to play soccer. We’re all very confident in each other. We have some of the most technical players in the league. Richie and the whole staff does a good job of preparing our players who actually don’t get 90 minutes, or much minutes at all. When they go in, they make a difference.”
“I think our team is just becoming a little closer and we’re learning more about each other on the field,” said Hatch. “It’s starting to click a little bit more and that’s what it is.”
This was a crucial win for the Spirit. They are now tied for third place with Portland Thorns FC. Ashley Hatch is tied for league lead in goals. But that’s the last thing on her mind.
“It definitely feels good,” said Hatch. “It’s not something I’m really thinking about right now because we do have such a long season. And my goal for this year is to help my team make it to the championship game. So that’s what I got my sights on.”
Confidence. Selflessless. Passion. Talent. You can tell they love each other and wants nothing but the best for one another. Washington Spirit have what it takes to carry them to the promiseland. It’s a long season ahead of us, so it remains to be seen.
The Spirit will host NJ/NY Gotham FC on July 18 at Segra Field. North Carolina are still in first place, but tied with 16 points as Orlando Pride sit behind them in second. The Courage will host Houston Dash on July 17.