A depleted San Diego Wave team secure a point at home to close out their historic 2022 season

The Wave end their season with a 0-0 draw against the North Carolina Courage


Olivia Vargo

Midfielder Kristen McNabb makes an attempt to steal the ball from her opponent during San Diego Wave’s 0-0 tie against North Carolina Courage on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

by Jake Enrico and Madison Cadena

In front of 18,000 fans Friday, Sept. 30, the San Diego Wave (10-6-6) ended their regular season with a scoreless draw against the North Carolina Courage (9-8-5) at Snapdragon Stadium. 

In their previous game in Orlando, Wave FC lost multiple crucial players to injury. Alex Morgan was already out due to a knee injury, but later in the game, the Wave lost Abby Dahlkemper and Taylor Kornieck to injuries. They knew this would hurt them facing the Courage. 

“We have a deep bench luckily, and obviously we miss those players because they are big leaders on our team, and the players that needed to, really stepped up and did their job for today’s game,” defender Kaleigh Riehl said.

Heading into the match, Wave FC had already secured their spot in the playoffs but the Courage still had much to play for.

The Courage brought the pressure to the Wave for the majority of the night. North Carolina held 59% possession for the match while often pacing the attack. San Diego missing players up front led the Courage almost doubling them in shots with a total of 15 while Wave FC only had seven. 

The tie between the two teams caused the Courage to lose their playoff spot to the Chicago Red Stars, who defeated Angel City 2-0 to steal the last playoff spot. 

The Wave will be the ones to face Chicago as they open their playoff journey in hopes of becoming the first expansion franchise in NWSL history to win the league in their inaugural season. 

The biggest play of the match came from Wave forward Makenzy Doniak finishing a shot off the counterattack. However, the goal was disallowed after the linesman ruled Doniak offside, eliminating the game’s best opportunity for a goal.

“We can take some positives from the offense too, we ended up scoring a goal but it didn’t count,” forward Sofia Jakobsson said.

Defender Christen Westphal prepares to take a throw-in for the San Diego Wave during their 0-0 tie against North Carolina Courage on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Olivia Vargo)

Kailen Sheridan, starting goalkeeper for the Canadian women’s soccer team, had the save of the game. The Courage had a chance to win the game in the 90th minute but a shot to the top-left corner of the goal was saved by Sheridan who once again kept a clean sheet. 

With so many players out, someone new got the chance to wear the captain’s armband. First-round pick of the 2022 draft, Naomi Girma, has made a name for herself in only one year and she showed her abilities as the team captain in the game against North Carolina.

“She truly showed a captain’s performance tonight,” Head Coach Casey Stoney said, “That’s why we took her first pick in the draft, she really is on another level. Naomi, not at her best, is still very good, but tonight she was outstanding.” 

Not only have the Wave made it to the postseason, one of their key players also received an award. Alex Morgan received the 2022 NWSL Golden boot, finishing as the league’s top scorer in the regular season with 15 goals in 17 games.

The Wave will hope to get Morgan and many others back from injury as they enter the playoffs.

San Diego will face the sixth-seeded Chicago Red Stars (9-7-6) on Sunday, October 16, at home at Snapdragon Stadium. After their sell-out game against Angel City FC, the club looks to pack the stadium for their first-ever playoff game.