Washington Spirit’s Trinity Rodman shines in NWSL championship

Andi Sullivan #12 of Washington Spirit (C) celebrates with Trinity Rodman #2 after scoring during the second half against Chicago Red Stars during the NWSL Championship held at Lynn Family Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Trinity Rodman showed why she was named both the NWSL and Just Women’s Sports’ Rookie of the Year, buoying the Washington Spirit to the club’s first-ever NWSL Championship on Saturday.

After conceding a goal to the Chicago Red Stars late in the first half, the Spirit needed a switch in momentum. The team found that in Rodman, who emerged from the break with a renewed sense of energy.

Causing problems for Chicago’s backline, Rodman showed poise and patience on the ball while making dangerous runs, exploiting the seams in the Red Stars’ defense.

Rodman’s dangerous shot off the crossbar from distance in the 61st minute signified a shift in the Spirit’s mentality, mobilizing the team’s attack to a breakthrough in the 67th minute, with an Andi Sullivan penalty kick serving as the team’s equalizer.

It was fitting then that Rodman set up the game’s go-ahead goal, dishing a perfect cross for Kelley O’Hara to finish off at the back post to make it 2-1. The finish makes Rodman the youngest player in NWSL history to record an assist in the playoffs at 19 years old.

Rodman’s dominant title-game performance comes as no surprise to those who have been watching her breakout NWSL season. The Spirit rookie finishes the year with seven goals and seven assists, and now, a league championship trophy, as well as legions of fans eager to see her inevitably receive her first cap with the USWNT.