San Diego Wave vs. Portland Thorns
Saturday, March 26, 2022- 7:00 PM
USD Torero Stadium
Since San Diego was announced as the city of the newest NWSL expansion franchise, this is the game the fans and the club have been waiting for.
The first home game for San Diego Wave FC.
Their first match at Torero Stadium will be Saturday at 7:00 p.m. against two-time NWSL Champions Portland Thorns.
Wave assistant coach Rich Gunney spent five years as part of the Thorns coaching staff before joining the Wave.
“Looking forward to competing against them,” Gunney said. “They have been a strong force in the league for a number of years, so it’s a good test for us. We know where we’re at in terms of when we played Angel City. Now the next challenge is going to be some tactical adjustments and psychological adjustments in terms of playing an established team, but one that I think we’re really well prepared for, more than capable for, and we’re excited for the challenge.”
Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan is coming off a strong performance against Angel City. Her save of Christen Press’ long-range bullet onto the crossbar earned her NWSL Save of the Week honors.
She comes into the game against Portland full of confidence in herself and her teammates.
“We all know that Portland is a strong opponent,” Sheridan said. “We definitely take every game differently because every team has different skill sets. At the end of the day, we’re going to impose our brand of soccer on them, and that’s our goal, and we’re going to work all week and make sure that when we get in against Portland, it’s our game and not theirs. They’re coming to San Diego.”
The first goalscorer in club history was Kaleigh Riehl. The halftime substitute scored the equalizing goal in the 81st minute and the game finished 1-1. She had played in the NWSL previously for Racing Louisville and is familiar with playing against Portland.
“I don’t think our mentality changes at all,” Riehl said. “We’re here to win. I don’t care if it’s their first game or their 100th game. We want to win.”
Head coach Casey Stoney has built a roster that is ready to compete right away in its first season in NWSL. From front to back, it is a collection of talented players that have found a way to play for each other and hope to reach a common goal this season.
“It’s incredible to see the amount of talent that we have but also the humility that we have on this team,” Sheridan said. “Kaleigh came into that game 100 percent knowing she wasn’t going to start and then came in and changed the game for the whole team. It’s incredible to have people on our team like that. Casey has done a really good job of creating a group of people who are really good mentally and emotionally with how their impact is going to be on this team.”
Limited tickets for the home opener for the Wave are still available through their website.