San Diego Wave vs. Angel City FC
September 17 – 7 pm
TV: Paramount +
It will be a historic, sell-out crowd of 35,000 fans as the San Diego Wave take on Angel City FC for a record-breaking match.
The San Diego Wave find themselves in third place, with just three matches to play. The Wave lead Angel City by five points with three matches to play, and Angel City has a game in hand. That means that if the Wave were to lose, they would no longer be in control of their own destiny.
Angel City is going to come in hungry as they are seventh place, one place out of the playoff position. A victory for San Diego could have the opposite effect, all but cementing a playoff position while also vaulting them closer to a top-two finish, which would guarantee them a first-round bye.
It’ll be important for the Wave’s players to keep their eye on the field as there will be plenty of distractions off the pitch.
Last Time Out
San Diego lost a seven-goal thriller in heart-wrenching fashion when Ashley Hatch scored the winner in the 10th minute of stoppage time. 17-year-old phenom Jaedyn Shaw gave the Wave an early lead, but the Washington Spirit scored three times in the first half. Alex Morgan scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute to bring the Wave within one.
As the game progressed to its final 10 minutes, Morgan struck again. She found a magical goal, her 15th in 16 matches which appeared to rescue a point for the Wave. However, the Spirit’s extremely late goal meant that all three points stayed in Washington. The match was extremely even, with both teams having 17 shots, while the Spirit had 52% of the ball to the Wave’s 48%. However, Washington found their way past Kailen Sheridan one too many times in what was the highest-scoring match in the Wave’s brief history.
Meet the Opposition
Angel City FC were the other expansion team to join the league along with the Wave at the start of this season. It’s been an up-and-down year for the side, as they won three of their first four matches. However, they won just two of their next eight, falling down the table. One of those two wins was a hard-fought 2-1 over the Wave in July, when Angel City found the winner after going down to 10 women. This was one of the matches in which Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, Kailen Sheridan, and Sophia Jakobsson were on international duty, so San Diego will be at full strength for this encounter.
While Angel City did fall to a defeat on Wednesday in North Carolina, they hadn’t lost in their five matches before that. The side from Los Angeles absolutely needs a win to stay in the playoff race, and that’s not going to happen unless they can fix their goal-scoring struggles. Savannah McCaskill and Cari Roccaro are the only two players to have more than two goals this season, so it’ll be crucial for them to find a way past Sheridan.
Despite allowing four goals in Washington, the Wave’s 19 goals allowed in the second-fewest in the NWSL. Kailen Sheridan and Carly Telford have been some of the best goalkeepers in the NWSL, and they’ll have a great shot at a clean sheet against on of the weakest offenses in the division. Alex Morgan continues to have one of the finest seasons of her career, while Amirah Ali and Jaedyn Shaw seem to get stronger each match.
San Diego cannot afford to lose a second consecutive game to a sub-par opponent, and manager Casey Stoney will be sure to have her side ready. The biggest challenge will be blocking out the distractions of the sellout crowd and the festivities around it. If the Wave doesn’t beat themselves, Angel City certainly won’t.
Prediction: San Diego Wave 2-0 Angel City FC