Spirits low for San Diego Wave after 3-1 loss vs Washington to open three-game road trip

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Trinity Rodman Spirit vs Wave 2023
Credit: Washington Spirit

The San Diego Wave began a three-game road trip in the NWSL regular season in the worst way possible this Saturday, May 6, as Casey Stoney’s team fell 3-1 against the Washington Spirit at Audi Field. This was set to be a very tough match for San Diego, and the Southern California team was unable to handle Washington’s fierce attack in this match.

Alex Morgan was back after an injury kept her out of the Wave’s last match against Orlando Pride. Taylor Kornieck and Emily van Egmond remained sidelined with injuries of their own as Rachel Hill and Makenzy Doniak replaced the veterans in the lineup. Sofia Jakobsson received another opportunity to start by Casey Stoney, as the Swedish international replaced Amirah Ali once again.

Somehow the first half ended scoreless, as an impressive showing by Kailen Sheridan helped maintain the scoreline, with Washington having seven shots on target in the first 45 minutes. The home team was the only team in the match for the first half, as a goal by Washington was inevitable.

The first goal of the match came in the 54th minute of the game, as Ashley Sanchez linked up with Trinity Rodman with a long pass from midfield to find the NBA star’s daughter near the penalty area. Rodman finished the opportunity with ease after beating out Christen Westphal with a powerful run into the penalty box. The marking was not the best by the Wave backline on the play, as it was exposed by a good, but not great, pass by Ashley Sanchez.

The Spirit extended its lead in the 69th minute, as this time around, Trinity Rodman provided the assist, and Ashley Sanchez scored the goal. Rodman made a stellar run of the left flank that left the Wave backline vulnerable to a potent shot by Sanchez from inside of the penalty area. There was really nothing Kailen Sheridan could have done on the play as she tried her best to reach the sphere in the top left corner.

Amirah Ali replaced Rachel Hill in the 66th minute and then went on to score a goal in the 73rd minute off a corner kick that was eventually called offside. It was controversial whether there was an offside on the play, but the goal was disallowed, and that was the deciding moment in the match, as the small glimmer of hope for San Diego came and left quickly.

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The final goal of the match for Washington came in the 79th minute as Paige Metayer scored off a corner kick to beat out Kailen Sheridan with a header. This is where Taylor Kornieck’s absence is really felt on the team, as the tall midfielder is a force on set pieces, both offensively and defensively.

The Wave were able to score a consolation goal in the final minute of the match as Alex Morgan scored a tap-in off a saved shot by Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. There was clearly not even a smirk by Alex Morgan upon scoring the goal, as the 3-1 scoreline was impossible to come back from at this stage of the match.

It was a highly frustrating game for the San Diego Wave, and there were clear expressions of this seen by Alex Morgan, Kailen Sheridan, and several other players. Sheridan had a fantastic showing in net, making seven saves, but it was all for not, given the final result. Melanie Barcenas also saw some game time as the 15-year-old replaced Makenzy Doniak in the 84th minute.

The Wave continue their road trip at Children’s Mercy Park this next Sunday, May 14, to face the Kansas City Current. San Diego is now in fourth place with nine points at the time of writing but can potentially move farther down the table with results awaiting from this week in NWSL.

San Diego Wave lineup: Kailen Sheridan, Kristen McNabb, Naomi Girma, Kaleigh Riehl, Christen Westphal (78′ Madison Pogarch), Danielle Colaprico, Mazenzy Doniak (84′ Melanie Barcenas), Sofia Jakobsson, Rachel Hill (66′ Amirah Ali), Jaedyn Shaw (45′ Isabella Briede), Alex Morgan

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