NWSL Week 6 winners and losers: Washington Spirit keeps on rolling

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 6: Andi Sullivan #12 celebrates with Paige Metayer #26 of the Washington Spirit after she scores on a header during a game between San Diego Wave FC and Washington Spirit at Audi Field on May 6, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

Chaos, and goals, week 6 of the NWSL regular season was a perfect example of what makes this league so extraordinary. 

Just when you think the NWSL could not get more entertaining, it outdoes itself. For the first time this season, four different clubs collected three or more goals in a single match week and over 53,000 fans attended matches throughout the United States in the NWSL this past weekend. Whether it was the six-goal thriller in Cary, North Carolina or the near comeback by the Kansas City Current on the road in Los Angeles, the fans were treated to some gripping action.

This week saw a new leader take hold of the top of the table as OL Reign overtook Portland Thorns after Mike Norris’ side failed to collect all the points away from Providence Park against the North Carolina Courage. Washington Spirit and the Thorns remain the only unbeaten clubs in the league while Racing Louisville continues to ride the struggle bus, falling short of that elusive first win for the sixth time so far this campaign. Sam Laity’s return to Seattle did not go as planned with Houston Dash losing its second straight game to move the club down to eighth position in the table.

Similar to the weeks prior, some clubs take a step forward while a few endure a step in the wrong direction. Here are two winners, and two losers from a week that tied week 2 for the most goals in a single match week this season.

Winners and losers from week 6 of the NWSL regular season.

1. Washington Spirit – Winner

At this point, it is difficult not to take Mark Parson’s Washington Spirit seriously. This is a club that followed up an NWSL championship with just three wins and an 11th-place finish. Not much was expected of the Spirit given the key losses that they experienced throughout the offseason. None of that has seemed to matter when you have Trinity Rodman, Ashley Sanchez, and Ashley Hatch all on the pitch at the same time. It was almost as if the home team came out with a chip on their shoulder after the club’s inability to find the winner against the Red Stars last week.

Only the Portland Thorns have more shots on target than Washington through six matches in the regular season. The Spirit have now defeated both OL Reign and San Diego Wave, two pre-season title contenders. Nobody has more successful take-on attempts in the NWSL than Rodman. She is must-watch television right now for Washington, making an early case for league MVP. Casey Stoney’s side headed to the nation’s capital with their eyes set on rebounding from a devastating home defeat to the Orlando Pride. In front of over 12,000 fans at Audi Field, Washington made sure that was not going to happen.

Within the first 22 minutes, the home side was already ripping holes through the San Diego defense. Stoney was in for a long night as Parson’s side continuously tested Kalien Sheridan between the sticks. Washington’s efficiency in front of goal was quite remarkable. 11 of the club’s 20 shots found the target while the Wave struggled to piece together an attack that made Audrey Kingsbury work. There is arguably no club out there that is more entertaining to watch than the Spirit right now. While San Diego dropped its second straight match, Washington is flying, extending its unbeaten run in the league to six.

2. Angel City FC – Winner

For the first time in 2023, Freya Coombe and Angel City FC have won in front of their own fans at BMO Stadium. Kansas City Current made it nerve-racking at the end, but it was the home side that was able to hang on using three first-half goals to conclude KC’s winning run. ACFC was winless in their last five matches in all competitions heading into the game, so a victory in week 6 was vital in order to keep up with the teams in the top half of the field.

Without Julie Ertz, Coombe’s side netted three goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half. The Japanese midfielder Jun Endo was sensational, leading her club in shot-creating actions, and contributing to two goals within a three-minute span to close out the first 45 minutes of action. Endo’s left-footed strike was her first goal of the campaign. If Angel City has any aspirations of booking a spot in the postseason, the 22-year-old is going to need to string consecutive performances like this. Not only is it just Endo, but the youth throughout this roster makes if hard to keep your eyes off of this team. Whether it is the celebrations or the crafty build-up play, this team is the perfect example of the evolution of the NWSL.

Last year, ACFC opened the campaign on a win at home, and while they have struggled to capture results in Los Angeles, this could be the beginning of this club making BMO Stadium their own fortress in 2023. Coombe’s side got away with one by taking their foot off the gas far too early, but at the end of the day, three points is three points. The Los Angeles side ultimately got the job done against a team that had not given up a goal in three straight matches in all competitions. Next week brings on a new test, but for now, ACFC finally pulled together a 45 minutes that was good enough to add one to the win column.


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