LA rivals beat San Diego Wave FC 2-1 for second time in two weeks

Wave vs Angel City 2023 Taylor Kornieck Challenge Cup

Credit: San Diego Wave FC

Credit: San Diego Wave FC

San Diego Wave FC played their Southern California rivals, Angel City FC, to a 2-1 loss on Wednesday, June 28, in the NWSL Challenge Cup in their second game of a three-game week and first game without national team players who left for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Wave tried a very different formation electing to use a three-person back line instead of a four-person one led by Naomi Girma and Kailegh Riehl.

“I take full responsibility for the poor performance in the first half. I tried to change the shape (because) we have virtually no centre-backs available…” Head Coach Casey Stoney said. “That’s on me the players always try to execute a game plan, but after reflections on how I set them up, I don’t think I gave them the best chance to be successful.”

Angel City’s first goal came very early on in the second minute, thanks to a corner kick set piece. Defending set pieces have been a big issue for the Wave this season.

The corner kick went to the center of the box, where Taylor Kornieck jumped to head it away, but Paige Nielsen recovered the ball, putting an easy tap over the Wave defenders toward the back post where two Angel City players waited. Madison Hammond got the touch heading it in for her first NWSL goal to make it 1-0.

“Trust me, we’re working on it—a lot. We’ve spent a hell of a lot of time on set pieces, but we keep getting the details wrong individually. That’s conversations for us to have with the players. To make sure and ask the questions why are we not doing what we’ve been asked to do,” Stoney said. “Disappointing from us, some strong conversations need to be had because that is the players responsibilities to know their jobs.”

Angel City continued their successful first half, spending a lot of time in the opposing half  putting pressure on Wave’s unfamiliar formation.

Chula Vista native Scarlett Camberos got her second assist against her hometown club, helping to extend the lead. In the run of play, she received a cross from Savannah McCaskill just outside of the box on the line forcing the goalkeeper to defend the near post. This allowed Camberos to pass it to the center of the box for Clarisse Le Bihan, who easily shot it into the opposite post to make it 2-0.

To start the second half Kaliegh Riehl came on, reverting the back line back to four, creating a much more comfortable game for the Wave. However, the scoring chances were not coming until Stoney decided to put on Jaedyn Shaw and Danielle Colaprico  in the 60th minute. Stoney kept both of them off until later in the match to keep fresh for their next game in Chicago, which will be their third of the week.

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“(Colaprico) makes such a difference to us when she’s in the middle of the park. She’s dynamic. She can get out and press, she keeps the ball, she solves pressure, she makes good decisions,” Stoney said. “She’s invaluable to us.”

Both substitutes made important impacts during a set piece in the 63rd minute as Jaedyn Shaw took a corner kick and sent it to the middle, where it was headed out perfectly by Kaliegh Riehl in front of Danielle Colaprico who sent a rocket in for her first goal with San Diego putting the Wave on the board.

“It’s always nice to score; in the moment, I was just focused on we need to get the second goal to tie this game up,” Colaprico said. “Obviously, it’s great. I love this team; I love where I’m at. Scoring my first goal for the Wave is just an incredible experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The Wave have a very fast turnaround as they play their third game in seven days when they take on the NWSL’s last-place Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, July 1, before returning to San Diego on July 8 to face the Washington Spirit.

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