The Washington Spirit extended their undefeated streak to six games as they beat the San Diego Wave 3-1 on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Wave are have now lost two in a row. Trinity Rodman, Ashley Sanchez, and Paige Metayer recorded goals in the victory. There are still more games to be played in week six, and Fans can watch NWSL matches across CBS Sports platforms including Paramount+ and CBS Sports Golazo Network.
Here are some takeaways from the match:
Trinity Rodman is in standout form with club
Rodman has been doing it all for the Spirit since week one. She scored a goal and notched an assist in the win and her defensive work rate as a winger has the capability to wear down opposing attackers. She should be considered an early candidate for NWSL MVP this season if she can keep up the work rate at this pace.
Her goal and assist in the game bring her to 13 goals and 10 assists in NWSL league play. It's a new record as the first player to record at least 10 goals and 10 assists in regular season play before turning 21 years old.
Rodman's playing responsibilities seem to have increased in this World Cup year, as she, and other players on the Spirit, are making a case for the final spots on the World Cup roster. For head coach Mark Parsons though, what matters is the steps his team is taking as a whole.
"I think that's a byproduct. I have soft, maybe softer words. I don't give a crap about what the national team or anyone else wants. I really don't" Parsons said in post-game comments.
"What I do care about, is players playing in the best position, showing their top qualities. The last two and a half weeks we have done the best work we've had for the last three months of building the connection between our backline and midfield, and our midfield and our forwards.
Chemistry with Sanchez a key in Spirit victory
The Spirit were constantly in dangerous spaces on the pitch and dominated the attacking stats against San Diego. They led in total shots 15 to 4 and executed 10 attempts on target compared to three from the Wave. After some earlier missed chances, Sanchez provided a lofty finish on an accurate pass by Rodman for a go-ahead goal.
A relentless work rate from Sanchez led to the Spirit crashing the Wave in goal, which is part of the end game for the team and Parson's vision for the club.
"There was a session earlier this week where we just took too long to find Sanchez, and made everyone aware she's our 10, and she needs to be the first thought or the second thought," Parsons explained.
"We can get there in one pass or we have to get there in two. But also teams will stop her. San Diego tried to stop her, and we need to use Ines [Juarena] and Paige [Metayer] to be able to free Sanchez and if [they] get free then they cause problems today as well... When we have Sanchez, Trin, and Hatch like they were today. Yeah, it's a problem. It's a big problem."
As you can see in the momentum chart, the Spirit simply dominated the match for long stretches.
Trinity Rodman, Washington Spirit: Rodman is showing she's a complete player as every week passes. Her work rate on and off the ball feels constant through 90 minutes, and her ability to both create her own shot and set up teammates makes her a threat in any space in the final third. Check out her opening goal:
Sam Staab, Washington Spirit: Her distribution is a highly underrated game-changer for the team when they have such solid attacking pieces. But Staab's experience along the backline is an added asset for the team as they continue to integrate new faces on defense.
Tara McKeown, Washington Spirit: The former forward was tasked with pivoting into a defensive role for the team and is now tackling games head-on as a center back. She had a massive task in isolating Alex Morgan and mainly executing the objective. McKeown can only get better with more time in the role.
NWSL regular season continues on with first-place on the line. Second-place Portland Thorns are on the road in North Carolina Courage at 7 p.m. ET, and third-place OL Reign will host Houston Dash at 10 p.m. ET. Washington Spirit will have a Challenge Cup game on May 10 against Orlando Pride, and continue their regular season on the road against Angel City FC on May 13 in Los Angeles. Fans can watch NWSL matches across CBS Sports platforms including Paramount+ and CBS Sports Golazo Network.