San Diego Wave drops home-opener 2-1 vs. Kansas City Current

Credit: San Diego Wave

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Credit: San Diego Wave

The San Diego Wave played their first game of the 2024 NWSL regular season this Saturday, March 23, against the Kansas City Current at Snapdragon Stadium.

A huge crowd of 32,066 spectators witnessed an unfortunate loss for San Diego, that included some impressive pre-game festivities including fireworks and a pre-game fan fest just outside the Snapdragon Stadium gates. The 32,066 spectators is an NWSL home-opener record, as not even the rain stopped San Diego Wave fans from getting to the “Snap.”

There was a huge surprise in the starting 11 for the Wave, as Jaedyn Shaw was on the bench to begin the game due to some fatigue issues. When Casey Stoney was asked about Shaw, her response was very simple, saying, “She’s not fit.”

The first goal of the match came in the 17th minute when Sofia Jakobsson scored off a rather bizarre play off a corner kick by Savannah McCaskill. The veteran delivered the corner kick then the ball deflected off of Alex Morgan’s shoulder with some power, as Adrianna Franch had to make a spectacular diving save to keep the ball out of the net. However, that save was not enough with Sofia Jakobsson coming through on the deflection off the save to make it a 1-0 game for the Wave.

Kansas City responded immediately after the goal with aggressive and offensive play with several goalscoring opportunities. Temwa Chawinga fired a shot that hit the post in the 25th minute then Kailen Sheridan saved a shot in a one-on-one agianst the 25-year-old forward in the 26th minute.

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Sheridan kept on being a factor in the game, saving an outside-of-the-box shot by Vanessa DiBernardo in the 31st minute. However, the Canadian goalkeeper was finally beaten in the 44th minute via a shot by Izzy Rodriguez off an awkward deflection that allowed Rodriguez to shoot from inside of the box. The first half ended 1-1 in a game where the Wave controlled possession, but there was not much difference in terms of offensive play and goalscoring opportunities

There was a very notable difference in chance creation in the second half, with San Diego Wave having a few more opportunities, but Kansas City gained a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute when team captain Lo’eau Labonta scored from the penalty spot. The penalty was awrded after a foul by Christen Westphal on Bia Zaneratto, the play was checked by VAR, but was very clearly a foul.

The second half was rather dull from both sides overall with neither team really doing enough to merit the three points from the match. Kansas City came away with a huge win away from home and the Wave with a crushing result in front of a historic crowd at Snapdragon Stadium.

Casey Stoney talked about what was missing from the team in this game, “It’s the final third, I think that final action, final cross, final ball, final finish, we’ve got to improve. Up until the final third, we played well. I’m not disheartened, I’m obviously disappointed. I thought we were probably worthy of at least a point tonight”, said Stoney.

The San Diego Wave have another chance of trying to get that first home victory of the season this Friday, March 29, when they face the Seattle Reign.

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