The San Diego Wave will battle their nearby rivals, Angel City FC, at Torero Stadium in San Diego at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.
This will mark the Wave’s third game of the Challenge Cup and second already against Angel City FC.
This game may also be Wave fans’ best chance during this Challenge Cup at seeing the Wave’s full flurry of attacking options.
The other two teams in the Wave’s group, the Portland Thorns and OL Reign, were both created in 2012 when the NWSL began with only eight teams.
Since then, both the Thorns and the Reign have established themselves as two of the best teams in the league. The Thorns are the previous NWSL champions, while the Reign were knocked out of the semifinals last year. So unsurprisingly, the Thorns and Reign have taken control of the group.
The Thorns and Reign are first and second in the group, and both haven’t lost a game. Meanwhile, the Wave and Angel City sit in third and fourth in the group, both without a win.
With both of these newly established teams looking for their first-ever wins, it’s going to get hectic out there, and either side might have to end up throwing the kitchen sink at the other.
This first ever-win is going to be especially meaningful as well because these two teams may begin to form a strong rivalry in the near future. Being the closest teams to each other is normally a characteristic that forms a rivalry but also, the amount of action we’ve seen between these two teams in their first-ever season is guaranteed to leave a few good and bad memories in the minds of fans.
“It’s going to be a real rivalry, and it’s going to continue to grow,” head coach Casey Stoney said after the Wave’s first game against Angel City.
Angel City is currently coming off two tough losses against the Thorns and Reign, where they saw three goals scored on them in each of the two games.
The Wave, on the other hand, narrowly lost 1-0 to a strong Thorns side.
In the Wave’s first two-game so far, they’ve conceded a total of two goals, while in Angel City’s first three, they’ve conceded seven.
This is a time where Angel City’s defense is vulnerable early into their first season, and the Wave has a really good chance of putting multiple goals in the net for the first time.
With stars like Alex Morgan, Sofia Jakobsson, and Jodie Taylor in attack with so much experience. Alongside creative rookies like Kelsey Turnbow and Amirah Ali, the Wave should look to push the tempo and get shots on goal as often as possible.
The Wave still must maintain their shape defensively if they want to come away with a result on Saturday because Angel City still has some very talented attacking options.
Savannah McCaskill, who scored against the Wave in the opener, is a great talent alongside Tyler Lussi, who scored in their 3-1 defeat to the Reign. But the one player that the Wave has to be extremely wary of is Christen Press.
“Christen’s a good player hence why I signed her at Manchester United. She causes problems cutting inside with her pace and running through the middle of the park,” Stoney said after the match versus Angel City. “It just means that we have to be defensively better central so that we can deny that space. I thought she had a really good game and impacted the game hugely. A player we really need to be mindful of in the return leg.”
With the potential chance of overtaking OL Reign for second in the group, the Wave have all to play for coming into Saturday’s match.
Expect a loud and passionate environment at Torero on Saturday afternoon as the Wave gets set to play their second home game ever.