Wave Recap: Cloud Nine
Closing out a stretch that saw them play three matches in one week, San Diego Wave Fútbol Club managed to bank another point with a 1-1 tie against OL Reign before 5,000 fans at Torero Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The lengthy week saw San Diego finish it 0-0-3, 3 Pts. with all three matches ending in ties, including on Sunday in Kansas City (2-2) before tying Portland on Wednesday (2-2) and the Reign on Sunday (1-1). Alex Morgan added on to her league lead in Goal scoring as she scored the opening marker in the 8th minute to give her nine on the season.
San Diego improves to 4-2-3 (15 Pts,) while the Reign remains on the hunt for their first victory away from Lumen Field, they’re now 2-2-4 (10 Pts.). The Wave ends the lengthy stretch of matches on top of the NWSL table but now has some company as the Chicago Red Stars, following their 1-0 victory over the Orlando Pride have now entered the chat in the number one spot in the table. The Reign moves ahead of NJ/NY Gotham FC for sixth place in the NWSL table with 10 points.
It didn’t take long for San Diego to jump in front on Sunday afternoon and they would look to the NWSL’s leading scorer to open her account once again to give San Diego an early 1-0 lead. Alex Morgan swooped in behind the Reign defense and received a long pass from goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. Morgan accepted the pass, went in on goal untouched then tucked a low shot to the far post past the Fallon Tullis-Joyce, the NWSL’s goalkeeper of the month for May for her ninth of the season. San Diego owned the first ten minutes of the match, generating numerous chances to add on through the remainder of the half with attempts towards goal but were unlucky to add on.
However, the Reign leveled the scoreline in the 38th minute on Jess Fishlock’s shot into the top portion of the net. Fishlock received a well-designed give-and-go pass, ran free from the Wave defense, and beat Sheridan upstairs to tie the match at 1-1. Megan Rapione, who entered the match as a substitute for the Reign nearly gave the visiting side the lead when she made a near-side run down the left flank, but Rapione’s shot rang the crossbar and did not go in. San Diego’s defensive corps thwarted several late match chances for OL’s offense, but Naomi Girma and the Wave’s backline kept the scoreline on an even keel. However, the physical play became a hot talking point on Sunday as collisions and fouls became the storyline of the day with no cards issued to either team on the field of play. The lone yellow card was issued in the 90th minute to Wave FC Head Coach Casey Stoney for dissent towards the head referee. Regardless, San Diego and OL share points on Sunday with a 1-1 tie.
Alex Morgan on the match: “I think it was tough on our legs coming into this game for a three-game week, but I think we started strong and then there were ebbs and flows of the game where we had to kinda dig in a little bit. But overall, I felt like we had a pretty good team performance, a really tough week, it’s nice to come out feeling good about this tie. I don’t feel like a lot of calls went our way…actually a lot of calls went against us unfairly. At the same time, I’m proud of this group for getting through this tough week and showing a lot of grit.”
Kelsey Turnbow on playing three matches in one week: “I think we’re so excited to be home for a couple of games after being on the road for so long [4 matches]. Our connections are getting better and better each game and we created a lot of chances today. Our grit was awesome, it was tough playing three games in one week, but our determination showed. We’re really happy to get a point.”
Alex Morgan on Kailen Sheridan assisting on her goal: “Kailen is great with her feet and her range is the best in the league. I think we have a good connection. I know that the Fullbacks in this league like to jump. I raised my hand for her [Sheridan] to the ball in behind, she played it perfectly behind and I just tried to finish it far post. Kailen plays like another field player.”
Alex Morgan on her 2022 season so far: “I just feel really settled, really at peace with my play on the field and just my life off the field and I think it’s all come together at the right time.”
Head Coach Casey Stoney on the third match of the week: “A game of two halves, you could tell in the second half we had played three games in a week. We created so much in the first half. In the second half, I have to really credit the players and their resilience and character. This is a massive point in the scheme of things, Reign are a very established team, a good team. To do that in these warm conditions in a three-game week I’m really pleased with the performance.”
Next Match: The Wave is back on the road for next Sunday, June 19th as they head to Harrison, New Jersey, and Red Bull Arena to face NJ/NY Gotham FC at 1pm Pacific Time. San Diego already owns a victory over Gotham in their inaugural home game on May 7th in a 4-0 victory.
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