The San Diego Wave suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss against archrivals Angel City FC at Snapdragon Stadium this Saturday, June 17. The last time the Wave won a home game was on April 19 in the NWSL Challenge Cup against the Portland Thorns.
San Diego has been one of the best away teams this season but are the fifth-worst team at home this season. A vibrant crowd of over 25 thousand fans enjoyed the thrilling atmosphere at Snapdragon Stadium but, yet again, were unable to enjoy a victory at the Mission Valley fortress.
Head Coach Casey Stoney presented an intriguing lineup for the match, featuring Amirah Ali and Meggie Dougherty-Howard. Emily van Egmond notably made her return after an injury but bstarted the game on the bench. Casey Stoney described her return as “massive” but also displayed her concern that she will soon be away from the team for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The first half of the game was uneventful, as neither team had very many scoring opportunities at Snapdragon Stadium. The Wave did shut down Alyssa Thompson and the rest of the Angel City attack in the first half, playing a very solid game on the defensive side of things.
Come the second half, Casey Stoney made some quick substitutions, bringing on Taylor Kornieck and Makenzy Doniak for Amirah Ali and Meggie Dougherty-Howard. Immediately after the substitutions, Kristen McNabb opened the scoring at Snapdragon Stadium with a goal from a potent strike from outside of the box. McNabb commented on her goal in the post-game press conference. McNabb said, “It was building up the right side. Slipped into Alex (Morgan), and I just had a lot of time. She just waved it off nicely, and I shot it.”
Alex Morgan then came off in the 62nd minute for Madison Pogarch, as Casey Stoney mentioned that the USWNT star was “capped” at 60 minutes for this match. Morgan was given a rest in the Wave’s previous match against Racing Louisville and is getting less playing time for the Wave with the World Cup approaching.
In the 69th minute, Paige Nielsen tied the game off a shot inside of the box after a corner kick by Clarisse Le Bihan. After that goal, the match settled for a few minutes, as both teams tried to find that winning goal to emerge victorious from this rivalry match. Casey Stoney made her final changes of the match, bringing on Emily van Egmond and Melanie Barcenas for Jaedyn Shaw and Danielle Colaprico.
Immediately after coming on, Melanie Barcenas showcased her impressive dribbling skills, beating out the Angel City defense and sending a cross to Taylor Kornieck. Kornieck connected on the cross, but the effort was saved by Didi Haracic.
In the 87th minute, Angel City scored their second goal of the day, as Mary Alice Vignola found the back of the net. The goal came off a massive error by Melanie Barcenas, who lost the ball to Scarlett Camberos, who then gave the assist to Vignola on the goal. Casey Stoney talked about that play by Barcenas and how she is not to blame for the loss. “I put her out there; it was my decision to put her out there. It was a very difficult square ball in the air to deal with. “She’ll Learn, there’s absolutely no blame on her at all.”
— Francisco Velasco (@FranciscoEfV) June 17, 2023
The Wave made a few last minute attempts to try and even the score, but all failed, as the home team lost yet again at Snapdragon Stadium. This was a tough loss for the Wave, considering it was against rivals Angel City, and given how bad Angel City had been this season. A similar result against an underperforming team in Orlando came earlier in the season, but the Wave’s away success is keeping the team competitive.
San Diego Wave will look to snap this home winless streak on Saturday, June 24, as Wave FC host OL Reign at Snapdragon Stadium.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.