Casey Stoney declares Wave FC “robbed” in 1-2 loss against OL Reign

Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

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Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

In San Diego Wave FC’s final match on Saturday, June 24, before international players will leave for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the team lost 1-2 against OL Reign.

“(I’m) extremely proud of my team tonight. I thought we played very well. We were robbed,” Head coach Casey Stoney said. “I can’t speak highly enough of my team. I thought they played well; created chances, defended well, so much better than last week, huge response, and they deserve a hell of a lot better. 

“I hope that crowd was really proud of us tonight because my team didn’t lose the game. It wasn’t them that lost the game…” Stoney said. “We had a good goal; we created chances, we fought. It’s the best I’ve seen playing against Reign in the time we’ve been in existence, so to come away with nothing is bitterly disappointing, and the players deserve more.”

OL Reign got the scoring started early on thanks to midfielder Quinn, who chipped a great cross over Wave defenders that bounced once in front of Bethany Balcer, who headed it in perfectly to take the early lead that would hold throughout the first half. 

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San Diego came out strong in the first half with great play from two of their best players in, Alex Morgan and Jaedyn Shaw, in the 47th minute. Morgan received a through ball down the line that she sprinted with before cutting inside away from an OL Reign defender just outside the box. Morgan sent a great cross to the center of the box for Shaw, who was well positioned to head it into the opposite side of the net to equalize at 1-1. 

Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

The rest of the half was intense both ways, with many scoring opportunities that Stoney said the team should have finished, including a one-on-one opportunity for Alex Morgan with the goalkeeper, but were unable to, which eventually led to a game-winning goal by the away team. 

In the 76th minute, the teams took a hydration break after an injury to Kristen McNabb. McNabb had to come off the field, and Stoney said she wanted to sub someone on but was not allowed by the officials. Meanwhile, OL Reign took advantage of the extra player, quickly pressing into the opposing half, where Sofia Huerta from outside the box sent a cross toward the far post for Bethany Balcer, who scored again to make it 2-1. 

Stoney said in retrospect after the match that they were “naive” and should have switched to a 4-4-1 formation to account for the missing defender.  

The Wave and 22,682 fans in attendance did not want that result to hold and kept the energy for the rest of the match, creating some strong offensive chances. 

However, in the first minute of stoppage time, Kailen Sheridan didn’t control a pass well outside of her box, allowing it to go in front of her too far. Elyse Bennett of the Reign charged for the ball, and Sheridan fouled her in what was initially a yellow card but changed to a red after a VAR check. 

Shae Yanez, the backup goalkeeper who will be seeing much more time on the field as Sheridan leaves for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, came on and saved the free kick with her first touch of the game. 

Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

The Wave created more offensive chances but couldn’t equalize losing to OL Reign for the final score of 2-1. The loss extended their home winless streak to five and winless streak against Reign to seven matches across all competitions. 

“These fans energize us, and I think we were really unlucky tonight,” Alex Morgan said. “It’s tough to lose at home, and we get a little extra energy from the crowd and motivation from the crowd. We absolutely love playing here in San Diego; we’re just not getting the results that we want.”

San Diego has a very short week without five key players because of the start of the World Cup window against Angel City FC on Wednesday, June 28, and do not return home until July 8, when they will take on Washington Spirit.

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