Wave look for first win against OL Reign in World Cup send off

Wave vs OL Reign 2023

Credit: Deanna Goldberg/EVT Sports

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Credit: Deanna Goldberg/EVT Sports

Saturday, June 24, San Diego Wave FC will take on OL Reign in the last match of the NWSL regular season before five players leave for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

In the Wave’s young history, across all competitions, the team has yet to win a game against OL Reign. The two clubs have played twice this season. First, losing due to a late corner kick goal in Seattle, and the second time at home for a midweek challenge cup match where they lost by the largest margin in their history, 3-0. 

“​The biggest thing is just playing our game and not letting the other team play their game as much and take control,” star Canadien goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan said. “I think we kind of handed the win last week, and we kind of defeated ourselves in a way, so the biggest thing this week for us is just the 90 minutes of our game and our strategy and sticking to it and playing strong.”

OL Reign have not been strong on the road this season, only gaining five points, but are currently tied with the Wave in the standings with 20 points and an equivalent +5 goal differential.

“We have to be at our very best. We need to compete a hell of a lot harder than we did last weekend to make sure we get something out of the game,” Head Coach Casey Stoney said. “We’re at home. You know, our fans deserve for us to give our very best, and we’ll do that.”

However, the Wave’s results at home have not been good since their first three games of the season despite averaging the best attendance in the NWSL. The last time the club won in a regular season match in San Diego was on April 1 against North Carolina Courage. 

The team has been great on the road notching four consecutive clean sheets, but have not been nearly as successful at home. Sheridan, who will be leaving for the World Cup after this match, said that she sees every team play like it’s a world cup final and celebrate, unlike anything she has seen. 

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“I don’t think any team that’s come here and won has necessarily outplayed us or been the better team overall,” Sheridan said. “I think we have just given them more opportunities to capitalize on, and ultimately, that’s just a mental game that we need to clean up.”

The club has marketed the match as Pride Night and World Cup send-off for Sheridan and four others who will be representing their countries in Australia and New Zealand. 

Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma will represent the United States, Kailen Sheridan for Canada, Sofia Jakobsson for Sweden, and Emily van Egmond for Australia.

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