San Diego Wave face Portland Thorns amid controversy & winless streak

Credit: CedJay photography/EVT Sports

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Credit: CedJay Photography/EVT Sports

Game: Portland Thorns vs. San Diego Wave

Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon

When: Friday, July 5, 2024

Time: 7:00 p.m. PST

TV: Amazon Prime Video

The San Diego Wave will play their 16th game in the 2024 NWSL regular season this Friday, July 5, against Portland Thorns at Providence Park.

The Wave are on a horrendous eight-game winless streak, coming off a woeful 3-0 loss to Chicago Red Stars at home in what was the Wave’s worst regular season loss in franchise history.

The match against Chicago was San Diego’s first match without former head coach Casey Stoney in what is looking like a really rough season. Apart from the mediocre performance on the field, the Wave is facing a heap of problems off the pitch with allegations of abuse and mistreatment in the workplace from several former employees, including former Communications Manager Bernadette O’Donnell.

San Diego Wave president Jill Ellis has already denied the claims, but the NWSL is undergoing an investigation as revealed from an unnamed NWSL spokesperson.

On the field, interim coach Paul Buckle has been preparing all week to try and have a much better game than in his debut against Chicago. The defensive performance against the Red Stars was the worst all season, with Naomi Girma even scoring an own goal. Buckle has not realy made any drastic changes from the formation or lineup that Casey Stoney was using.

Buckle started Alex Morgan, Maria Sanchez, and Jaedyn Shaw against Chicago, but the attacking trio was ineffective, with Alex Morgan even missing a penalty.

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Portland has been having a much better season than San Diego, currently in fifth place 24 points, but is currently in a rough patch. The Pacific Northwest side is winless in its last three league games and has only won one match in its last five. Portland is coming off a scoreless draw against expansion side Utah Royals, in a match where goalkeeper Shelby Hogan really shined.

Sophia Smith is the superstar for the Thorns and has been very effective this season with 10 goals and six assists. Smith is the bulk of Portland’s offensive production and is the key for the Thorns’ success this season.

With all of San Diego’s current problems, they are the heavy underdogs in this match, and it is hard to imagine a win in what is set to be a very tough road match. This will be the Wave’s last match before a big break with the NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup beginning on July 20 when San Diego hosts Bay FC at Torero Stadium, then plays Club America on July 26 at Snapdragon Stadium.

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