San Diego’s new professional sports team is the San Diego Wave Futbol Club, an expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Sunday was the first chance for the Wave to make sure the 619 was represented well. They did that swimmingly, winning the contest away against the Houston Dash, 1-0. A late winner is what SD needed as English international Jodie Taylor tucked away what was good build-up play from the defensive line.
To be frank, the first half was dominated by Houston. They had six total shots and two on-target, which, although not particularly exceptional, was better than the Wave, who only had one on-target shot of two total. The two teams were split 50/50 possession-wise.
Swedish veteran Sofia Jakobsson had early chances for the Wave, and her impact was surely noticed.
Her substitution in the 66th minute for Jodie Taylor, coincidentally, became the games only goal scorer. Taylor came on and found herself in similar chances on the pitch like Jakobsson. This time, she delivered with a timely strike in the 86th minute. The assist came from super-sub Katie Johnson, who came on one minute earlier.
It was set up from a sweet progression from Mia Gyau on her professional debut. She sent it forward to Katie Johnson, who flicked it on to Taylor.
A great team goal was rewarded with three points, shooting San Diego into the top half of the table.
The key of this match for the San Diego Wave was the defense. Naomi Girma proved her worth for being a top draft pick by being Fotmob’s Player of the Match. She was dominant in the win, although the Houston Dash registered 11 shots. They limited Houston to the two on-target chances in the first half. They were the only shots on target allowed by the Wave’s defensive core. The two teams played a very similar game, but a slow and steady progressive game helped highlight Casey Stoney’s superior tactical approach in the narrow win.
To summarize, the Wave had a defensive, disciplined mentality in which they progressively passed through their team to give their forwards chances. Although, they had fewer total chances compared to Houston. San Diego was able to make it happen when it counted.
Now sixth in the table due to goal difference, three points is a great start to their inaugural campaign. They looked calm and composed all game almost as if they knew their chance was coming. Of course, it all depends on the substitutional choices by Stoney and her staff, which included taking off icon Alex Morgan for the young, internationally experienced German winger Marleen Schimmer.
The Wave made San Diegans proud this weekend, securing late valuable points early on in the season.