PHOTO CREDIT: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
In their inaugural regular season match, San Diego Wave FC etched the first win in club history into the record books thanks to Jodie Taylor’s goal late in the second half that lifted San Diego to a 1-0 win on the road over the Houston Dash on Sunday in front of 7,722 at PNC Stadium in Houston, Texas. Despite not having Abby Dahlkemper, San Diego’s defense stood strong turning away 11 shots from the Dash offense while Kailen Sheridan made two saves and turned in the first clean sheet in the process as well.
SURF RIDERS (Wave Starting XI): Kailen Sheridan (GK), Naomi Girma (D), Kaleigh Reihl (D), Christen Westphal (D), Emily van Egmond (MF), Belle Briede (MF), Kristen McNabb (MF), Taylor Kornieck (MF), Kelsey Turnbow (F), Alex Morgan (F – CAP.), Sofia Jakobsson (F)
GAME CHANGERS (Subs Used): Jodie Taylor, Amirah Ali, Mia Gyau, Marleen Schimmer, Katie Johnson
TIME LAPSE (How it happened): The first half was a feel-out process as both clubs got acquainted with each other. San Diego recorded the first best chance to strike first in the 7th minute when Sofia Jakobsson broke free deep in Houston territory where she picked up a pass and went in untouched on Dash Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, but she was able to deflect the shot before Marisa Viggiano cleared the lines to keep the scoreline level.
Houston came within inches of going in front just before the halftime whistle as the Dash had quality possession time inside of San Diego’s half of the field and they took advantage of a Wave defensive breakdown in front of Sheridan. Rachel Daly took a cross from inside the box, but her shot rang the crossbar and pinballed out, mere inches away from giving the home side the lead as the teams headed into the locker rooms.
WHERE THE TIDE TURNED (The turning point): It would be a trio of Super Subs with the biggest impact of the match for San Diego. Gyau, Johnson, and Taylor checked into the match between minutes 66 and 74 and they all figured in the scoring line for San Diego. Gyau and Emily van Egmond controlled possession on the right corner of the box in which Gyau lofted a cross into the area where Katie Johnson headed a ball to the near post. Jodie Taylor ended up beating her defender to the ball and she pushed a shot past Campbell in the 86th minute for the first-ever regular-season goal in Wave FC history.
WAVE FC GOAL: Jodie Taylor (from Katie Johnson) 86’ (0-1 SD)
TUBULAR TIBIDTS (Match Notes): Six San Diego players made their NWSL debuts on Sunday. Naomi Girma, Kelsey Turnbow, and Belle Breide started the match while Mia Gyau, Marleen Schimmer, and Amirah Ali appeared as Substitutes in the match. 7,722 showed up on a blistering hot Sunday at PNC Stadium in Houston. The attendance marked the fourth-largest crowd in Dash history and was their highest attended match since 2014.
QUOTES (courtesy of Wave FC’s Communications Team):
Casey Stoney on the club’s performance in the victory: “I’m extremely proud of this team and how far it has come. They had more chances than us, but coming here in a heat that we’re not used to … and being able to grind out a result 1-0 … for me, the most pleasing thing is we’ve kept a clean sheet, and players have come off the bench yet again and made a huge difference to the game. It’s a massive three points on the road for us.”
Casey Stoney on the subs connecting for the Goal: “That doesn’t happen if the first 11 don’t grind the opposition down and open the game up. It doesn’t happen without the players that prepare all week and possibly don’t play any minutes. I’m really pleased, it’s a flick-on by [Katie Johnson], and Jodie [Taylor] scores and it’s incredible that the players are coming off the bench and making an impact in the way that we want. That’s why we call the game changers game changers because they’ve come on and done exactly that.”
Jodie Taylor on scoring the first goal in club history, and the eventual game-winner: “It’s a great relief. Any time you see the ball hit the back of the net, it’s a great feeling as a forward. For us to score, keep a clean sheet … I was just in the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net. I’m pleased that we won our first game, making history … and three points on the road is huge in this league. I’m really happy with it.”
Jodie Taylor on the club’s performance: “Houston is never an easy place to come and play, but I thought the team put a good shift in. In the first half, we didn’t quite get pressure on the ball like we wanted to and we allowed them to play through us and make it a bit too easy for them. Come second half, we changed a few things … coming in as subs we made an impact, but it was a real team performance and I’m very happy for us to get three points.”
Mia Gyau on making an impact in her NWSL debut: “It was really exciting. I was injured throughout the Challenge Cup, so it was a bit disappointing not to play in those games. To come off the bench and play in a league game, and earn three hard points, it’s so special. I’m so happy that I was able to make an impact along with everybody else who came onto the field. It’s our first league game and we showed so well. Away with three points is a really good showing.”
NEXT MATCH: San Diego heads home on Saturday evening to host NJ/NY Gotham FC at Torero Stadium at 7pm from Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego. NJ/NY and Wave FC will enter the match with wins under their belts after capturing victories in Week 1.