Things looked bleak for the San Diego Wave Futbol Club in their first home match since May 15th against a worthy adversary, the Portland Thorns. Facing a 2-0 deficit late in the second half of what was a frustrating evening for the Wave’s offensive attack in which it seemed they had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the Thorns’ goal on Wednesday evening. It included a goal that appeared to cross the goal line getting waved off, a shot from 20 yards out hitting off the post, and a goal waved off for an Offside, it would be Taylor Kornieck scoring a pair of goals in a seven-minute span to rescue a point for San Diego who roared back for a hard-earned 2-2 tie before a loud, energetic and sold-out crowd of 6,100 at Torero Stadium.
The Wave with the tie is now 4-2-2, 14 Pts. and they stay on top of the NWSL table plus gaining a point home makes them 2-0-1, 7 Pts. at home, while the Thorns are now 2-1-4, 10 Pts. and are still in search of their first road win of the season (0-0-2, 2 Pts.).
SURF RIDERS (Wave FC Starting Line-Up): Kailen Sheridan – GK, Naomi Girma – D, Emily van Egmond – MF, Kelsey Turnbow – MF, Sofia Jakobbson – F, Alex Morgan – F/CAP., Kristen McNabb – MF, Kaleigh Riehl – D, Christen Westphal – D, Taylor Kornieck – MF, Belle Briede – MF.
TIME LAPSE (Match Recap): Things were quiet for the first 20 or so minutes for both teams as they generated opportunities and chances while both goalkeepers stood strong until Portland broke through. Rocky Rodriguez made a run and was pulled down in the box granting Portland a penalty kick opportunity. Sophia Smith would convert the 22nd-minute chance to give the Thorns a 1-0 lead in the first half. It marked the first time in San Diego’s three regular-season home matches that they had trailed at any point in a match.
Portland Goal: Sophia Smith (PK), 23’ – SD 0, POR 1
San Diego appeared to have leveled the scoreline in the 31st minute. Sofia Jakobbson held the ball just outside the Portland box before she lofted a shot towards the goal. Her shot ended up sneaking through the hands of Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby, hit the right goal post, and appeared to trickle across the goal line, but it would be called off by the referee as play continued on. The Wave continued to generate momentum and chances with Jakobbson for the second time in a matter of minutes nearly equalized for San Diego, but her bid from 20 yards away in the 35th minute careened off the left post, off of Bixby, and wide of the goal. Chances continued coming San Diego’s way in the 36th minute and 39th minute, but they could not capitalize at the end of the first half.
HALFTIME: SD 0, POR 1
Coming back into play for the second half, Portland quickly doubled their advantage in the opening minute. Christine Sinclair, appearing in her 150th career regular-season match in the NWSL got free from the Wave defense and converted a beautiful aerial pass from Sam Coffey past Sheridan from up close to double the Portland lead to 2-0. For Sinclair, the 38-year-old Burnaby, B.C. Canada native notched her 4th goal of the season and moves into second place all-time in NWSL scoring history.
Portland Goal: Christine Sinclair, 46’ – SD 0, POR 2
For a third time in the match, Jakobbson appeared to have scored and brought the Wave back to within one, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside whistle, much to the chagrin of the sell-out crowd of 6,100 at Torero Stadium. San Diego finally found an answer in the 81st minute following a set-piece. After a Corner Kick was taken, the Wave offense broke through following a loose ball that had been pinballing around right in front of the Thorns’ goal where Taylor Kornieck crashed the party and jammed home the loose ball to cut the Portland lead in half to 2-1.
Wave FC Goal: Taylor Korenick, 81’ – SD 1, POR 2
Bedlam ensued just seven minutes later in the 88th minute as Kornieck made Torero Stadium erupt with the equalizing goal on a leaping header after a sensational pass made from Christen Westphal brought San Diego back from the brink of defeat to level pegging and that is where the scoreline stayed as the Wave and Thorns ended up in a 2-2 deadlock at Full Time.
Wave FC Goal: Taylor Korenick (2nd of the match), 88’ – SD 2, POR 2
FULL TIME: SD 2, POR 2
WAVE FC HEAD COACH CASEY STONEY QUOTES:
On the match: “Being 2-0 down, you have to be really satisfied with a point. I said in the first half we really dominated the game, dominated chances, we give away a penalty and we go down 1-0. Then we come out and concede so early in the second half, that was a bit of a sucker punch. I thought we played arguably some of the best football we’ve played, I thought we created lots and lots of chances. On a different day, we could’ve taken all three points, but listen Portland [Thorns FC] they’re an excellent team. Really, really proud of this team, its growth, and where it’s going.”
On the 2nd half comeback: “2-0 we could’ve sat down, we could’ve laid down and given up. I thought their goalkeeper [Bella Bixby] was outstanding tonight. To concede that early in the second half, I thought we showed real character.”
On Taylor Kornieck’s two goals and her performance: “Taylor’s been called up to the National Team for a reason. She’s performing well. I think in 18 weeks the progress she’s made is a credit to her. She was outstanding tonight.”
Updating Abby Dahlkemper’s health: “She started running today [Wednesday], she ran for the first time. It’s all about pain tolerance when you’ve broken a rib. Hopefully, it won’t be long until she’s back into non-contact and then back into training and hopefully, during that international break, she can get some consistency and minutes.”
On facing OL Reign on Sunday: “Reign is a very strong side. We might have to change things up a little bit in terms of personnel having played a lot of minutes in four or five days and travel, we had to travel back from Kansas.
On the Fan Base and Fan Support: “Listen, we’re a different team at home. And it’s because all of these thousands of people that get behind the players. They give us the extra energy and motivation, they’re unbelievable. It’s like a Cauldron in here, and we love playing here, we love it because of our home fans.”
WAVE FORECAST (Next Match): San Diego returns to the pitch on Sunday afternoon to face the Seattle, Washington-based OL Reign at 2pm Pacific Time from Torero Stadium.