San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

The San Diego Wave win 3-2 in front of a record-breaking crowd at Snapdragon Stadium

The Wave’s front three all scored as Alex Morgan’s 89th minute winner secured three points against the Chicago Red Stars
Jesse Gordon
Alex Morgan protects the ball from her defender in a playoff game versus the Chicago Red Stars last season.

The San Diego Wave opened their season with three points in a tight 3-2 win over the Chicago Red Stars in front of a packed Snapdragon Stadium. Wave forward Alex Morgan put the game away as she scored a penalty in the 89th minute to secure the win for her club.

This was a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal playoff matchup between the Wave and Red Stars where San Diego came out on top 2-1. San Diego Wave finished third in the final standings last season and have opened up their season on the right note with a big three points.

Chicago immediately brought the pressure to San Diego as they controlled most of the action in the Wave penalty box. However, the Wave defense, led by defender Naomi Girma, held strong up until the 18th minute.

Off of a Red Stars corner, the Wave found themselves caught out and the ball deflected into the goal. Midfielder Yuki Nagasto finished the goal for the Red Stars and got Chicago out to an early 1-0 lead.

It did not take the Wave very long to respond as forward Amirah Ali equalized in the 22nd minute. Ali finished a deflective goal off the crossbar with her head and beat the Chicago goalkeeper to score the Wave’s first goal of the season. Snapdragon Stadium was as loud as ever and all 30,854 fans in attendance made their presence felt immediately. This also set the NWSL record for fan attendance in a home opener, previously set by the Orlando Pride with 23,403.

“It feels great, it puts a fire under you just knowing you have that huge crowd and everyone is always cheering so loud,” Ali said. “I love that much love that we get from the people in this community.”

After a couple of big saves from Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, San Diego got itself a corner and a big chance. Chicago headed the ball outside the box however it fell right to Jaedyn Shaw, and she finished a brilliant shot from outside the box into the bottom corner to give the Wave their first lead of the match. The Wave fans were ecstatic and had the stadium rumbling as San Diego had its first lead of the season.

Head coach Casey Stoney got great production from her front three in the match and gave credit to her forwards.

“The fact that Jaedyn and Amirah got on the score sheet is very pleasing,” Stoney said. “Three very different goals, so we just need to build on that.”

It seemed that the Wave were going to have a halftime lead but in the fourth minute of injury time, the referee awarded Chicago a penalty off a Wave foul on the edge of the box. Forward Mallory Swanson converted a penalty and equalized for the Red Stars and capped off a four-goal first half.

The Red Stars outshot the Wave 8-4 in the first half however it was the Wave who controlled possession with 52%. Both teams came out with high intensity and got their respective seasons off to a firing start.

The second half started off with some great defense from each side but it was not until Swanson had a big chance and tested Sheridan at the near post to try and get her second goal of the game. Sheridan made a big save to keep the game tied at two.

Sheridan dominated the second half. Chicago had many great chances in front of goal yet could not convert as the Wave keeper was vital in keeping a second half clean sheet.

The Wave defense was keeping them in this one as for the majority of the second half. They struggled to generate any good chances offensively but in the final 10 minutes of the game, the Wave started to pick things up and win some corners back. They were putting balls in the box but were just missing their targets and seemed like their first match was headed towards a draw.

On the brink of full time, in the 89th minute, Morgan was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty to ultimately have a chance to win the game. Morgan won the Golden Boot in the NWSL last season with 15 goals and the USA national player was set to pick up right where she left off.

To no one’s surprise, Morgan converted the penalty with a powerful shot in the bottom left corner and clinched the Wave’s 3-2 victory and earned them three points.

“The crowd really brought so much energy,” Morgan said. “I’m glad we were able to get that final goal to win it, just proud of the team overall.

“All I want is for our team to win the shield and get in the playoffs, to go all the way. If that means getting a lot of goals again, I’m happy to do that but I think we’ll see a lot more players getting a lot of goals this year, one being Amirah.”

San Diego will stay home and host the North Carolina Courage this Saturday, April 1 in the second match of the 2023 season.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
The San Diego Wave win 3-2 in front of a record-breaking crowd at Snapdragon Stadium