San Diego Wave defeat Washington Spirit 2-1


Credit: Josh Jimenez/EVT

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Credit: Josh Jimenez/EVT

The San Diego Wave (1st at 6-2-3, 21 points) defeated the Washington Spirit (8th at 1-6-5, 9 points) 2-1 on Sunday, July 3rd.

The win brought San Diego back into first place after the Chicago Red Stars took first for a day following their 3-0 victory over Gotham FC on Saturday.

“Extremely proud of this massive squad effort in terms of prep for this week, most importantly, three points on the board.” head coach Casey Stoney said. 

Despite being without five of their regular starting players, San Diego still managed to secure the three points. NWSL leading goal scorer Alex Morgan, breakout star Taylor Kornieck, Naomi Girma, Sofia Jakobsson, and Kailen Sheridan all missed the match due to international duty. 

It’s worth noting that Washington was also without many key players such as Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman, and Kelley O’Hara. In fact, seven players from their roster were called up to the USWNT, meaning both teams were playing with very unfamiliar lineups. 

Credit: Josh Jimenez/EVT

The game also marked the return for Wave’s veteran center-back Abby Dahlkemper who had been out with a multitude of injuries including fractured ribs. 

San Diego did well to dictate the offensive tempo of the match early. Washington had a little more possession of the ball but San Diego was much better at creating opportunities to score.

The breakthrough for San Diego came in the 35th minute through Mackenzy Doniak; her second goal in as many matches.

Christen Westphal made a darting run with the ball down the left flank and played a perfect pass across the box into the path of Doniak who blasted the ball into the roof of the net.

“I think that gave us a little bit of cushion and belief in ourselves that we can settle into the is game, Doniak said. “I think that first goal helped us, adding momentum going forward.”

The second came right before halftime. Marleen Schimmer terrifically stole the ball in Washington’s half. She then carried the ball into the box and played an inch-perfect pass into the path of Belle Briede who placed the ball into the side-netting.

After the match, Stoney was sure to give credit to her attack for starting the match on fire.

“Marleen Schimmer’s first 90 minutes in pro football so really proud of her to come on and do so well,” Stoney said. “Kelsey Turnbow and Mackenzy Doniak, she’s been in form all week in terms of training. Really pleased with their performances and effort.”

San Diego continued to dominate in the second half. But late into extra time, Washington had a consolation goal. Tara McKeown did well to maintain possession and then floated a cross into Jordan Baggett who headed the ball into the back of the net.

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Despite the final goal, the defensive pairing of Kaleigh Riehl and Dahlkemper looked solid for most of the match. Goalkeeper Carly Telford also looked solid, she made two saves during the match and looked commanding in goal until Washongton’s consolation late in the game.

“You can’t understate the experience and leadership qualities. We have Carly Telford as our experienced goalkeeper, Abby Dahlkemper as an experienced center back, we had experience in midfield and then Mackenzy has got some experience,” Stoney said. “So that spine was really experienced in times when we had to bring a little bit of inexperience on the pitch.”

It was a massive 2-1 win for San Diego, managing to stay atop of the NWSL table despite being without many of their star players.

Next, the San Diego Wave will face Angel City on Saturday, July 9th at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

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