San Diego Wave begin season fighting for NWSL Challenge Cup vs. Gotham FC

Credit: San Diego Wave FC

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Credit: San Diego Wave FC

The San Diego Wave will begin their 2024 NWSL season this Friday, March 15, against NWSL champions Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

The NWSL Challenge Cup has a new format in 2024, as it will be a single-game format for the title between the winners of the NWSL league title and NWSL Shield holders. Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, Jaedyn Shaw, and Abby Dahlkemper were all champions with the USWNT in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup, and it is unclear if any of them will be available to start in this match.

Kailen Sheridan also played in the W Gold Cup with Canada but will be available to play in this match against Gotham. The Wave had a busy offseason, notably acquiring Hanna Lundkvist, Savannah McCaskill, and Elyse Bennett. McCaskill is the most notable signing of the offseason for the Wave, and it will be interesting to see how her versatility and veteran presence add to this team.

Elyse Bennett also adds a very notable physical and aerial presence in the attack, as demonstrated in the preseason, that will surely be very valuable for Casey Stoney. There were some departures from the Wave, most notably Taylor Kornieck, who as revealed by coach Casey Stoney requested a move away from San Diego.

Gotham FC also had some very notable additions, such as Rose Lavelle, Crystal Dunn, Tierna Davidson, and Emily Sonnett. Gotham has a super team led by head coach Juan Carlos Amoros, who has proven to be a master strategist with his playing style and quick transitions.

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There is money on the line in this Challenge Cup, as the winning team players will receive $3,500 each, while the losing team will receive $2,200. The Challenge Cup MVP will receive an additional $2,000, as it will be interesting to see if both managers use their best players with the NWSL regular season around the corner.

The San Diego Wave will play their NWSL home-opener on March 23, 2024 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego and will then also play against Seattle on March 29 at the Mission Valley fortress.

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