San Diego Wave finish first; Win NWSL Shield

Credit: San Diego Wave

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Credit: San Diego Wave

On the final day of the season, San Diego Wave FC beat Racing Louisville 2-0, garnering them a first-place finish — winning them the NWSL shield in only their second year of existence.

“I was just thinking F*** yeah,” star forward and captain Alex Morgan said. “I’m just so proud of this team. It is quite an accomplishment to be able to do this in the second year for an expansion team. It just goes to show the professionalism that everyone brings starting from the top down with Jill (Ellis) and Casey (Stoney) to the players.” 

The first goal came in typical San Diego Wave fashion. A transitional moment, moving the ball from the back with a pass by Emily Van Egmond to Alex Morgan in the midfield. Morgan passed the ball through the legs of a Louisville defender to Jaedyn Shaw, who did the same to the opposition’s captain, Abby Erceg. The ball went forward, and the two raced for it before Shaw pushed Erceg off the ball with her body, then Shaw cut back and took the shot with her right foot to put in the back of the net, making it 1-0 in the 26th minute. 

Stoney said the Wave didn’t play as strong the rest of the first half compared to the beginning, but they kept Racing off the board. 

Despite being in position for the first-place finish as the Portland Thorns were down 2-0, Stoney said she was only focused on winning today’s game and did not want to know the score of the other match. Ultimately, she said she was told the score of the match by fans from the stands. 

The Wave came on stronger to start the second half and scored an insurance goal off the foot of Morgan to make it 2-0 in the 47th minute. Morgan got a pass at the top of the box from Madison Pogarch and tripped up the Louisville defender by first faking to her right before shooting through the defender’s legs to the top right corner, where the goalkeeper had no chance to save it.

San Diego will face the winner of the October 20 NWSL quarterfinal match between OL Reign and Angel City FC.

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Casey Stoney said, “I don’t have a preference,” as both teams will be tough and have been difficult matchups for San Diego. The Wave have never beaten the Reign across seven matches and have gone unbeaten against Angel City since April 23, which was prior to the firing of their head coach, Freya Coombe. 

However, the The NWSL will face an international break in between the quarterfinal and semifinal, which Casey Stoney said is “great timing” in a sarcastic manner as the team will manage multiple players leaving San Diego to play for their international teams for friendlies and olympic qualifying matches.

Credit: San Diego Wave

The semifinal match won’t be played until November 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Snapdragon Stadium, the day after an SDSU Aztecs American football game, which likely means the field will feature leftover paint from the night before. 

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