On the heels of their first regular-season match and snagging three points on the road, San Diego Wave FC (1-0-0, 3 Pts.) is back home inside the friendly confines of Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego as they host NJ/NY Gotham FC (1-0-0, 3 Pts.) on Saturday evening.
THE DROP-IN (Last Match): Jodie Taylor scored in the 86th minute as Wave FC scored their first regular-season goal, and victory last Sunday in a 1-0 decision over the Houston Dash from PNC Stadium. San Diego’s Goal came from a couple of the “Game Changers”, the Substitutes coming in off the bench and making an instant impact. Mia Gyau lofted a cross from the corner of the box into the area where Katie Johnson was able to deflect the ball forward toward the near post and right onto the foot of Taylor who potted the Goal for the lead. Kailen Sheridan recorded two saves in Goal for San Diego as the club’s defense chalked up the clean sheet.
2022 SAN DIEGO WAVE FC ROSTER:
Goalkeepers (3): Kailen Sheridan, Carly Telford, Melissa Lowder
Defenders (8): Abby Dahlkemper, Naomi Gima, Kaleigh Reihl, Tegan McGrady, Christen Westphal, Kayla Bruster, Mia Gyau, Taylor Hansen
Forwards (6): Amirah Ali, Jodie Taylor, Sofia Jakobsson, Alex Morgan, Makenzy Doniak, Katie Johnson
Midfielders (7): Emily van Egmond, Kelsey Turnbow, Kristen McNabb, Sydney Pulver, Taylor Kornieck, Belle Briede, Marleen Schimmer
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: The Wave welcomes NJ/NY Gotham FC to town for the first of two regular-season matches on Saturday evening. After the opening week of matches, San Diego and NJ/NY both find themselves in a log jam with four other clubs (Portland Thorns FC, Angel City FC, Washington Spirit, and Chicago Red Stars) for the top spot in the NWSL table with three points as both teams scored road victories in Week One. NJ/NY pounded the Orlando Pride 3-0 at Exploria Stadium last week with the scoring barrage coming in the first half with McCall Zerboni, Margaret Purce, and Kristie Mewis all scoring for Gotham.
STRANGER TIDES: Saturday will see a couple of former players face their former clubs. San Diego goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan opposes Gotham FC, while Kristie Mewis will suit up for NJ/NY after being selected by San Diego in the expansion draft and subsequently being traded to NJ/NY.
WAVE WATCHING (Player to Watch): It’s hard to choose just one player to watch coming off of a match where the Substitutes cashed in late in the match for the Wave. Keep an eye out for San Diego’s “Game Changers” in this one.
SHORE BREAK (Goalkeeping Matchup): Both projected starting Keepers are coming off of recording Clean Sheets. Kailen Sheridan turned away two shots for San Diego in the win over Houston. Ashlyn Harris made four saves for NJ/NY in their victory over Orlando.
OFFSHORE VIEWING (Where to Watch): Saturday’s match will start at 7pm from Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego. Limited tickets remain available by visiting sandiegowavefc.com. Fans unable to attend can watch the match on Twitch Global and searching “National Women’s Soccer League”
QUOTES (courtesy of Wave FC’s Communications Team):
San Diego Wave FC Head Coach Casey Stoney on the home crowd atmosphere: “It’s unbelievable the fact we’ve sold out all home games. The atmosphere is incredible. Put it this way, in England if I gave a message onto the pitch, it was heard. You can’t hear yourself think [at Torero Stadium], let alone players hear you give instructions. It’s brilliant, [the fans] get behind the team, they support the team throughout the 90 minutes and they create a really good atmosphere. It’s different.”
Casey Stoney on facing NJ/NY: “They’ve got dangerous players. [Paige] Monaghan, [Margaret] Purce. They’ve got pace in their front line that can hurt us if we’re not in the right start positions. We need to defend higher up better and stay more compact in moments so we’re harder to break down. We kept a clean sheet for the first time last weekend, so that’s a real positive for us and we need to build on that now. They’re a good team. [Scott Parkinson] is a good coach and he’ll have them playing through the thirds. We’ll need to make sure we’re compact and deny them spaces. Also, we know where the spaces are to exploit against them. We know where we can hurt them.”
Casey Stoney on the long term growth of Women’s Soccer in San Diego and the NWSL: “We’ve sold out every home game, so that’s something to be really optimistic about in terms of soccer here in San Diego. We obviously train here, there’s a rich culture of soccer, and I’ve never seen anything like it in England in terms of [young] girls playing the game. The optimism is very high. When you look at the crowds across the league last weekend, Angel City obviously got what they did as well [sold-out crowd of 22,500], so I think we all have to be optimistic and not just about soccer in San Diego and America, but across the world. You look at the crowds that teams are getting in The Champions League and across women’s soccer. There’s a real thirst for the women’s game. We’ve got a huge tournament in England this year in terms of the Euros, there’s obviously going to be a World Cup coming up, so there’s so much optimism in the game and it’s going from strength to strength.”
Midfielder Kelsey Turnbow on the support the club has gotten from San Diego: “It means so much to us. San Diego is a soccer city and I feel it was so overdue to get a women’s team [back] in the city, so to see [the fans] love and support gives us so much motivation and purpose. We couldn’t be more grateful to represent this city and we’re proud to continue to do that. We want to make them proud.”
Kelsey Turnbow on how her and the fellow rookies are transitioning from college to the pros: “As a rookie group, we’re super blessed to be playing for the San Diego Wave. We feel so much support and we’re getting a lot of guidance. I feel, personally, that I’ve grown more as a player than I have in a really long time. It’s always special to be in a new place. We have really great leaders to look up to. So many great players who have taken our hand and really helped us along the way navigate the transition from college to pro. And then our staff, from our coaches to the extended staff, they’re absolutely amazing and they’ve helped us too. It’s truly a special place to be in and I think that it’s made the transition a lot easier.”
Midfielder Kristen McNabb on her experience in San Diego after four years in Seattle: “Seattle did have a really good team culture. I loved the team, and I love and appreciate my years there. What’s so different is everyone’s new here, which has brought this newfound excitement. We’re all coming together towards a common goal, so it’s been really cool to build from day one. We have an incredible group, we’re all tight knit and we have common goals. It’s been great so far.”
Kristen McNabb on what’s unique about Casey Stoney’s head coaching style: “She’s super detail oriented, which is awesome. We do film and she’s super clear and concise in what she wants. Personally, being a defender all of my career, having a defensive leader who really harps on those small defensive details that other coaches might not pay attention to has been really awesome. The small defensive details she points out have been really unique.”