Opening weekend of the NWSL season continued Sunday with the Washington Spirit welcoming OL Reign to Audi Field, where Trinity Rodman brought the crowd to its feet with some sublime quality on the ball and a solo game-winner in the second half.
We had a scoreless opening 45 in the nation's capital, but Rodman established herself as the standout player with a couple brilliant moments.
One run from deep inside her own half was finished with a backheel pass and half-chance for Ashley Hatch.
Surrounded by defenders? No problem for Trinity Rodman. pic.twitter.com/9LhKhdscqK— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) March 26, 2023
Rodman also almost teed up Dorian Bailey after some sorcery out wide.
Too good from Trinity pic.twitter.com/IcanzxnJeR— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) March 26, 2023
There was a clear sense of anticipation every time the 20-year-old got on the ball, and the stadium erupted in the 54th-minute when Rodman provided a world-class finish.
Rodman took possession at the halfway line from a throw-in, spun her marker, drove at the heart of the Reign's defense and finished by lashing a left-footed effort inside the post from nearly 25 yards out.
Trinity Rodman goal vs OL Reign
Trinity Rodman really said, "Fine... I'll do it myself."
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) March 26, 2023
WATCH THE WHOLE TRIN GOAL CUZ IT'S AMAZING! pic.twitter.com/QjgGlxrGZ1— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) March 26, 2023
The rising USWNT star was taken off in the 85th-minute with the home side defending all three points, and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe (making her 100th appearance) ultimately kept the clean sheet despite the best efforts of Rose Lavelle, Bethany Balcer, Jess Fishlock and Emily Sonnett.
OL Reign lost only four matches last season on their way to the Shield, but they start the campaign with an 'L' while the Spirit, after missing the playoffs, look a lot more like the side that won the 2021 NWSL Championship.
The Spirit travel to Racing Louisville next weekend while the Reign visit Gotham FC.