In a match of historic proportions, the two newest members of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) clashed at the brand new Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego and set the watermark for the rest of the league. A new NWSL record crowd of 32,000 fans packed The Snap on Saturday evening as San Diego Wave Futbol Club hosted their SoCal rivals, Angel City FC in the second-ever regular meeting of the Chanaclasico. It would be Jayden Shaw writing her name into the history books with the first-ever goal scored inside the new digs. Her 30th-minute Goal is her 3rd in three matches as San Diego defeated Angel City 1-0.
With the victory, the Wave improves to 10-6-4, 34 Points on the season, and find themselves back on top of the NWSL table while Angel City dips to 7-7-5, 26 points.
TIME LAPSE (How it happened): Both teams exchanged possession time in the opening minutes of the match. San Diego had the first quality chances of the night but was unsuccessful in converting the chances before Angel City generated two great chances in the 13th and 16th minutes including Kailen Sheridan making her first stop of the evening.
WHERE THE TIDE TURNED (The turning point): As the first half wore on, the Wave capitalized on an opportunity that came in the 30th minute, San Diego had kept Angel City at bay and in their half of the field for a good portion of the opening half. A loose ball had pinballed to the right corner of the penalty area where a cross-in from Sofia Jakbbson found Jayden Shaw with a defender on her back. Shaw was able to leap up and get her head on it and send it into the bottom left corner past a sprawling Didi Harcic sending the 32,000 into a frenzy with the first goal of the match and first ever goal at Snapdragon Stadium.
SAN DIEGO WAVE FC GOAL (30′): Jayden Shaw (3rd of the season – SD 1, LA 0)
Not even three minutes after going ahead, San Diego nearly conceded an equalizer chance for ACFC, but Sheridan made a spectacular diving save to keep the Wave in front. Angel City kept the pressure on for the remainder of the half, but the Wave defense held strong to carry a 1-0 lead into the locker room at Halftime.
Angel City generated their best opportunity in the second half after they managed to draw a Penalty Kick. After San Diego’s defense let ACFC near the penalty box, a foul was called as Claire Emslie was knocked down but still resulted in a point to the Penalty Spot. However, calm cool, and collected as ever, Kailen Sheridan turned aside Savannah McCaskill‘s penalty bid sending the 32,000 on hand into shear pandamonium after the save that kept the scoreline in San Diego’s favor for the duration of the match as the Wave cap off a historic night with a 1-0 victory over Angel City.
FULL TIME: San Diego 1, Angel City 0
QUOTES (courtesy of the Wave FC Communications Team)
SD Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney:
On today’s match:
“We weren’t great, but I think when you can not play well and still win, that’s the sign of a good team. This was a pressure moment some of these players have never faced before and I probably need to take that into account. The huge crowds and big build up. To be honest, I wanted this game out of the way”
On Jaedyn Shaw’s goal and performance:
“There’s a reason I put her out there. She’s so mature for a 17-year-old. She’s extremely talented and we need to manage her minutes because this is high intensity and she’s never played at this level before but technically she’s so talented.”
On the record breaking sell out crowd:
“It feels incredible to win for our fans and as someone who has been involved in this game for 30 years, I’ve waited for this moment. To be able to do this without another crest, like in England how we rely on Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool to gain big crowds, but this is San Diego Wave, eight months into existence and to pull a crowd like this, it just shows what San Diego is as a community and we want to keep them coming back because the potential for this team and community to keep growing is huge. This was such a momentous occasion for women’s soccer and I’m just so pleased to be a part of it.”
On Kailen Sheridan’s penalty kick save:
“She’s the world’s best for me. I’ve played with so many goalkeepers over the years and they could either keep the ball out of the back of the net or they were incredible with their feet but very rarely do you get both with a female goalkeeper and she is absolutely one of those. She stepped up tonight and she’ll say that’s what she’s there for but she revels in those big moments.”
On the necessary three points:
“I said to the team at the end, the most important thing is three points and I’m so proud of them because it keeps us in and around the playoffs and I think that’s so important. We are making history. All credit goes to the players because I have an incredible group of women who go out there and get results.”
On the recent growth of women’s soccer:
“I didn’t even dare to dream when I was a kid because I was told I shouldn’t and couldn’t play, especially in England because it was a man’s game and there were no careers in it. Now I look and I think 32,000 people here for the San Diego Wave and you look at the Women’s Euros this year and their crowds, we’re really onto something special and I think it transcends to society. There are so many jobs within the game now in terms of journalism, marketing, sponsorship and I see how many really strong female leaders that are in this club and the opportunities are endless now.”
Wave FC Defender, Abby Dahlkemper:
On tonight’s atmosphere:
“The energy in the crowd from the beginning even before warm ups- we felt that coming through the tunnel and I think it was such an amazing moment and time to thank everyone behind the scenes who made this happen- brought soccer back to San Diego. The community and everyone around us has welcomed us with such open arms and this stadium is unbelievable. We are so grateful and like Alex [Morgan] said- the sky’s the limit for this team. It was not the performance we wanted but we got the result and hung in there and will definitely look back at the film and keep improving. We are hoping to get this amazing fan base and crowd behind us for the next game on September 30th, too.”
“We could have done a little bit better with keeping the ball. Defensively, we could have tightened our lines and our press was off tonight for whatever reason- spacing or anything. LA is a good team and we stuck it out. Thank god for Kailen [Sheridan] again. We will have to look back at all the films because we did OK. I think we can produce better for the fans and for us too.”
On Kailen Sheridan’s performance:
“Unbelievable. As a center back it is so important to have a confident, good goalkeeper, and she is that. She is so reliable. She is one of the best- if not THE best goalkeepers in the world. We were able to see her practice day in and day out and her talent is unbelievable. Having that security behind us is good and again, another incredible save and she saved us three points. Players are stepping up at the right moments for this team throughout the season. She is great.”
On returning to the lineup:
“I was really focused on what I could control and that was my performances in practice and staying healthy and staying available. It speaks volumes to the quality and depth of this team. For whatever reason, I tried to control what I could control and was really thankful I was able to step back out on the field and we were able to win and play in front of this amazing crowd.”
On tonight’s sell-out crowd:
“It sets the standard for our team, we have 32,000 amazingly loud and confidence inspired fans. I think that it is so important for us, for the fans, to play well and get results. We did get a result tonight but we could have done a lot better and that’s just being honest. Moving forward, we only have two regular season games left and everything to play for so I think it’s just about improving.”
On Jill Ellis:
“I thanked Jill [Ellis] before the game, I thanked her after the game and it was just such a full circle moment. I love Jill, I respect Jill so much and she is such a pioneer in women’s soccer and this wouldn’t be possible without her. I’m just thankful, she is awesome.”
Wave FC Forward, Alex Morgan:
On tonight’s match:
“I just want to focus on the fans and the fact that this organization has the ambition of selling out this stadium the first game we were here. We did that. That’s a testament to the ambition of this club and what we are looking to do in the coming years. If this is year one, there is so much to look forward to. To get the win here tonight, grind it out, and have an incredible save by Kailen [Sheridan] at the end to keep us on top was what we needed. To have the fans behind us from minute one to the last minute was incredible. Such a memorable moment for all of us.”
“To think there wasn’t a team in California before this year is just crazy. Seeing the fan base with Wave FC and Angel City FC is incredible. This rivalry is just going to keep heating up. It’s just different knowing that the game in the US is growing so much. The league has taken quite a few years to get their feet under them and market well and get quality on the field, great front offices, organizations, training facilities, stadiums- it has taken 8, 9,10 years to build that. I am really proud of where we are at with Wave FC and the NWSL and I am just looking forward to continuing on this path and for the future. This game is a really big moment, it’s different- you can’t really compare it with the national team. To see the fans in our city come and support us- we are just excited, we want to put good products on the field week in and week out.”
On feeling the stadium’s energy:
“It was such a beautiful moment. To see soccer in California not exist before this season for many years, to see San Diego embracing us as a women’s professional soccer team so quickly in the way that they did it was just a great moment. it felt like we were home and had 32,000 fans behind us from the first minute and it was a great moment to enjoy and remember.”
On teaching Jaedyn Shaw:
“I hope to teach her to keep staying confident and taking on players and doing exactly what she’s doing. At this moment, it’s not about coaching her in a certain direction or teaching her something, it’s allowing her to have the freedom to do exactly what she’s doing and having the confidence in that. We’ve seen that in the last three games, she’s made an impact in every single minute she’s stepped on the field.”
On her recent success:
“I think there is no secret to success. It’s about working hard, it’s all about believing in yourself, having confidence and having a really good support system, whether that’s coaches, teammates, family, a personal coach, just building up a system so you can ride the waves of ups and downs. Sports are volatile sometimes, you have to be strong in the good and bad moments.”
On another broken record:
“I just love breaking records. It feels good. Tonight was another one for us. To see so much growth and progress is happening in women’s soccer globally while we are playing. In the same week, we signed the equal pay agreement, and then have the highest attendance record here today in the last 10 years of the NWSL. It is just incredible. It’s really a fun time to be a soccer player right now and just enjoying the moment.”
On a recap of the night:
“I definitely play with passion so sometimes I get a little emotional. I think our defensive positioning was a little off. I think we played some poor passes in the middle of the park that got picked off unnecessarily. I think with that sometimes I felt as I was pressing I felt we didn’t have our ten or our other players around me helping me and that grew frustrating but I think as the game wore on and Kailen [Sheridan] saved that penalty, it was all about closing out the game and at the end of the day we grinded out the win and we will look back and see what we need to work on. But of course, there are frustrations here and there with positioning or certain defending but overall, I want to focus on the good things tonight and that’s this crowd, Jaedyn’s [Shaw] goal, Kailen’s [Sheridan] incredible save.”