Wave set for first road game of the season vs OL Reign: San Diego Wave Preview
Game: OL Reign vs. San Diego Wave
Where: Lumen Field, Seattle
When: Saturday, April 15, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
The San Diego Wave will play its third game in the 2023 NWSL season this Saturday, April 15, against OL Reign in what will be the Wave’s first away game of their campaign. Casey Stoney’s team is off to a terrific start to the new campaign, with two wins from two games played at Snapdragon Stadium.
The Wave started the season with a 3-2 win against the Chicago Red Stars and followed up that performance with a 3-1 win against North Carolina Courage. Team captain Alex Morgan is currently leading the team with three goals scored, while Jaedyn Shaw is not far behind with two goals scored in the season.
Six Wave players (Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, Taylor Kornieck, Sofia Jakobsson, Emily van Egmond, Kailen Sheridan) are coming off international duty with their respective national teams. Some players like Kailen Sheridan had success with a strong performance against Canada, while other players like Emily van Egmond and Taylor Kornieck, unfortunately, did not receive any playing time.
Alex Morgan had a relatively quiet international break, with her standout play being a defensive goal-line clearance rather than any scoring plays. However, Morgan is a standout on the USWNT and is basically guaranteed a starting role at the 2023 World Cup as she looks to get back into scoring form in Seattle.
The rest of the squad continued practicing in San Diego and even held a friendly match behind closed doors against Tijuana Xolos Femenil. The Wave defeated the Club Tijuana ladies 3-0 as 15-year-old Melanie Barcenas received playing time in that match. Barcenas was on the bench against North Carolina at Snapdragon Stadium, and it will be interesting to see if she gets her NWSL debut soon.
OL Reign is coming from its first win of the 2023 season, a 2-0 victory away from home at Gotham FC. Jessica Fishlock and Bethany Balcer scored the decisive goals in that game as the Reign is expected to compete for the NWSL crown like they did last year.
OL Reign also had several players out on the international break, as Sofia Huerta, Emily Sonnett, Alana Cook, and Rose Lavelle all saw minutes with the USWNT. Cook was the hero for the USWNT in their second bout against the Republic of Ireland as she scored the lone goal of the game off a long-range punt from halfway up the field that ended in the back of the net.
Alana Cook scores her first USWNT goal on her 26th birthday 🥳
Watch live on @hbomax 📺 pic.twitter.com/Cvtb0gSd6J
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 12, 2023
Sofia Huerta played the 90 minutes at left-back in the same game where Cook scored, while Rose Lavelle played 80 minutes of the first game against Ireland and was very involved in the attack. The Reign is set to reign at home this season as this is their first home game in 2023, and it has the potential to be a very tough match for the San Diego Wave.
Players to Watch
Lavelle was one of the most involved players for the USWNT going forward in their first game against the Republic of Ireland. The 27-year-old midfielder has plenty of speed and a great dribbling ability that can prove to be troublesome for the Wave defenders.
Sheridan has already had some very important saves early on in the season and will face a talented Reign offense that will surely test her. The Canadian goalkeeper saves 11 out of 13 shots by France in Canada’s 2-1 defeat in the international break, as she is in excellent form and ready for the task in Seattle.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.