San Diego Wave FC completed its opening homestand of the season by grinding out a hard fought and well earned 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon over the Chicago Red Stars at Torero Stadium. San Diego got another Goal from Alex Morgan, her fifth goal in two matches while Kaleigh Riehl added the insurance marker on the brink of stoppage time to extend the Wave lead before Chicago finally put a dent in the armor with the first conceded goal of the season by San Diego who saw their clean sheet streak end at two matches, but they added two more goals on offense to give them seven goals in just three matches played. The Wave improve to 3-0-0, 9 Pts. on the season while the Red Stars fall to 1-2-0, 3 Pts.
SURF RIDERS (Starting XI): Kailen Sheridan – GK, Kaleigh Riehl – D, Tegan McGrady – D, Christen Westphal – D, Naomi Girma – D, Kristen McNabb – MF, Taylor Korenick – MF, Emily van Egmond – MF, Jodie Taylor – F, Amirah Ali – F, Alex Morgan – F (CAP).
WHERE THE TIDE TURNED (The turning point): After a scoreless opening half of play that saw both teams exchange heavy stretches of possession time and chances galore, San Diego finally broke through in the 56th minute of the match. Sofia Jakobsson, who subbed in for Amirah Ali in the 34th minute, controlled possession at midfield with Alex Morgan returning a pass that Jakobbson took in stride and began barreling down the field where she was bumped off the ball, but the contact was more than enough for Referee Karen Callado to point to the penalty spot and award a Penalty Kick to San Diego. It would be Alex Morgan, calm, cool and collected from the spot finding the back of the net past a diving Red Stars Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to put San Diego in front 1-0. For Morgan, it’s her fifth goal in two matches and her third penalty kick converted on the season and from there San Diego was off and running as they turned up the pressure on offense.
WAVE FC GOAL: Alex Morgan (PK) – 56’: SD 1, CHI 0
Morgan appeared to give San Diego a 2-0 lead in the 64th minute, but her goal would be wiped off the board due to an Offsides whistle. Jakobbson also had an opportunity from point blank range, but she was deemed Offside as well just a few mere moments later. Naeher made arguably the biggest save of the afternoon from a set piece that ricocheted off multiple players in front to keep the Red Stars’ head above water.
Chicago appeared to have found the equalizer in the 84th minute, but Offsides was called to negate the goal. Things stayed at 1-0 all the way until the 89th minute when Kaleigh Riehl knocked down a pass right in front of the goal and served it past Naeher to double San Diego’s advantage to 2-0.
WAVE FC GOAL: Kaleigh Riehl – 89’: SD 2, CHI 0
It took until the 91st minute for a team to penetrate the Wave goal, but it finally happened as Ava Cook tallied one for Chicago with four minutes left in stoppage time, but San Diego’s multi-goal performance was able to hold up for a 2-1 victory to wrap up the homestand.
CHICAGO GOAL: Ava Cook – 90’+1: SD 2, CHI 1
Sofia Jakobsson on the run she made that led to the PK: “I played it first to Alex (Morgan) and then she played me again and I could run. I felt like I would have a good opportunity to score, but I got fouled and we got the penalty.”
Kaleigh Riehl on if she is surprised by the team’s 3-0-0 start: “No, I mean I think we go into every game wanting to Win. That’s the mentality we have. We want to go to 4-0 on Wednesday (May 18th), so not surprised. We’ve put in a lot of work on the training ground and our staff has really prepared us well.”
Kaleigh Riehl on the substitutes delivering in big moments: “We put a lot of emphasis on that. Every game our subs have come in and made a huge difference and they’re all so valuable, every person is so valuable whether you’re on the field, whether you play a minute or 90 (minutes), they always give us a big lift every time they come in.”
NEXT MATCH: The Wave head on the road for a four match road trip that will begin on Wednesday May 18th against Racing Louisville FC at 4pm Pacific.