The forfeit is the first issued by a U.S. pro soccer league since the pandemic started in 2020. The Orlando Pride was withdrawn from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup and FC Dallas and Nashville SC weren't allowed to participate in the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament due to Covid-19 issues. Matches in MLS and the USL Championship were cancelled due to ongoing Covid outbreaks. Both the USL Championship and League One finals weren't played for the same reasons.
The Spirit's match at Portland last Sunday was postponed due to a Covid outbreak within the team with four players testing positive. No decision about what will happen to that match has been made.
New Spirit president Ben Olsen said the club was disappointed in the NWSL’s decision to issue the forfeit but it accepted the decision. He apologized to Spirit fans in a statement and said the club will issue refunds to ticket-holders.
"Making this situation right and preparing for our remaining matches are the club’s highest priorities," said Olsen, who took his job on Sept. 2.