USWNT REWIND: Washington Spirit Win 2021 NWSL Championship

For the first time in club history, the Washington Spirit are NWSL Champions! The Spirit claimed the 2021 league title with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory in extra-time over the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, Nov. 20 in front of a crowd of 10,360 at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. Spirit defender and two-time World Cup champion Kelley O’Hara scored the game-winning goal in the 97th minute to lift the Spirit to their first ever league championship, becoming the fifth different club to hoist the NWSL trophy.

WATCH: O’Hara Scores Game-Winner in Overtime


The game-winner by O’Hara was her first goal in any NWSL competition in 2021 and made her the oldest player to ever score in an NWSL final at 33 years of age. O’Hara’s goal was set up with a brilliant cross from 19-year-old U.S. youth international and 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman.

While Washington turned the tide in the second half and came up with the heroics in overtime, the Chicago Red Stars jumped out to the early lead with a goal from forward Rachel Hill deep into first half stoppage time. Making their second consecutive appearance in the NWSL Championship game, the Red Stars reached the final as the four-seed and in spite of numerous injuries to key players over the course of the season. The Red Stars also lost two starters to injury during the final. Chicago had to go without NWSL MVP runner-up Mallory Pugh in the second half Saturday’s championship match after she suffered an injury late in the first half (Chicago actually scored while she was off the field getting medical attention). Defender Tierna Davidson played the full 120 minutes for the Red Stars in the narrow defeat.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Washington quickly turned the tide in the second half and equalized in the 67th minute after USWNT midfielder and Spirit captain Andi Sullivan converted from the penalty spot. 

WATCH: Sullivan Puts Spirit Level



Sullivan, Emily Sonnett and O’Hara went the full 120 minutes in the victory while 2021 NWSL Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch (116 minutes) and midfielder Ashley Sanchez (88 minutes), both of whom will be joining the USA for its upcoming friendlies in Australia, also featured prominently for the Spirit in the win.

While the NWSL campaign comes to a close on home shores, competitions remain in full swing in Europe where USWNT midfielder Catarina Macario continued her stellar scoring run for France’s Olympique Lyonnais. The 22-year-old Macario scored in the sixth minute of OL’s 4-0 win over Issy on Sunday, Nov. 21. Macario is tied for the team lead in scoring with seven goals this season in league play and has six goals and four assists in her last nine appearances for the club across all competitions.

Macario also played 77 minutes in Lyon’s 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Nov. 17. Lyon remains in first place in Group D with two match days remaining in group play (Dec. 9 vs. Benfica from Portugal and Dec. 15 vs. Hacken FC from Sweden).


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