San Diego Wave bench proves vital role in 2-0 victory against Angel City FC

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Makenzy Doniak San Diego Wave Angel City 2023
Credit: San Diego Wave

The San Diego Wave played their fourth game in the 2023 NWSL regular season as the Wave visited Angel City FC at BMO Stadium this Sunday, April 23.

Casey Stoney’s team came away with a valuable 2-0 win in the SoCal derby to take the three points back to San Diego.

The game was set to be a very hard-fought match, given the rivalry, and it did end up being that way as both teams struggled to generate many offensive plays in the clash. Casey Stoney was forced to make a change to her starting 11 as Taylor Kornieck was out due to illness after playing mid-week against Portland in the Challenge Cup.

Emily van Egmond returned to the midfield after recovering from an injury, which sent Makenzy Doniak to the bench. Rachel Hill made her first NWSL regular-season start with the Wave after getting her first start as a Wave player in the Challenge Cup on Wednesday. For Angel City, it was very surprising to see Julie Ertz in the starting 11 shortly after having signed with the club in what was her first NWSL game since May 16, 2021.

The first half of the match saw little to none clear scoring opportunities for either team. Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan was not really tested in the first half due to a strong performance by San Diego’s backline. Naomi Girma was specifically busy and helped clear out the ball before Katie Johnson could get a shot on target in the 37th minute.

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The best offensive play for San Diego in the first half came from a shot by Alex Morgan in the 35th minute after receiving a pass by Jaedyn Shaw. The shot by the Wave captain went just wide to the right of the net as the first half ended scoreless at BMO Stadium.

There was only one shot on target in the first half as both the Wave and Angel City needed to desperately generate more offensive play. Wave head coach Casey Stoney recognized this and brought on veteran Sofia Jakobsson for Amirah Ali at halftime. Another important substitution for San Diego came in the 62nd minute when Makenzy Doniak replaced Jaedyn Shaw. Kelsey Turnbow also replaced Rachel Hill in the 62nd minute as Casey Stoney worked with a completely different attack in the second half.

These changes made all the difference in the game as Sofia Jakobsson scored on her birthday to make it a 1-0 game in the 70th minute. The Swedish international made a brilliant run on the right wing then cut inside in the penalty area before releasing a potent strike that found the back of the net.

Five minutes later, Makenzy Doniak added to the lead with a goal via a long-range shot that deflected off Angel City defender Sarah Gorden to find the back of the net. Doniak’s persistence in the play before her shot paid off as she applied pressure alongside Alex Morgan to generate the scoring opportunity. Morgan was awarded the assist on the goal, as that was the USWNT superstar’s first assist of the young season.

The Wave were able to hold onto the 2-0 lead for the remainder of the match as the backline and Kailen Sheridan played a role in the victory. Sheridan earned the clean sheet in Los Angeles and came away with two vital saves in the match.

San Diego really showed its depth in this match, as the bench players were directly responsible for the goals in the second half. Manager Casey Stoney made the perfect moves to earn the three points from the SoCal derby as the Wave now returns home to face Orlando Pride at Snapdragon Stadium on April 29.

The Wave improved to nine points on the season and are in third place on the league table behind the Portland Thorns and OL Reign.

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