The Washington Spirit will begin the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup with arguably the most daunting opening assignment they could have gotten, heading south to face the North Carolina Courage. The Spirit have only managed one win against the Courage ever, and since June 16, 2018, no one has gone to Cary and beaten the home side. Missing several stars due to international duty, Washington will have to dig incredibly deep to start the year off with a win.
Key player: Paige Nielsen
International call-ups have hit the Spirit hard (particularly at the back), and on top of that Sam Staab is questionable with a hip injury.