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Lessons learned: OL Reign 3, San Diego Wave FC 1

Tale of two halves in a tough loss on the road

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC at OL Reign Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was certainly something. After a brief break from NWSL Challenge Cup action, due to International footy taking centerstage once again, San Diego Wave FC got back to work this evening. They hit the road to face the OL Reign, who looked to once again flex their strength against an expansion side. And did they ever, getting the 3-1 win in controlling fashion.

With the International break just coming to an end earlier in the week, both sides featured a fairly rotated squad to give those who were on duty, a chance to rest. That gave others the opportunity to stake a claim in the Starting XI. For the Wave, goalkeeper Carly Telford made her NWSL debut, while defender Taylor Hansen was making her professional debut after signing for Wave FC as a non-roster invitee during preseason camp.

OL Reign wasted little time, jumping out to a lead in just the first few minutes of the match. After hitting a couple of San Diego defenders in the face, Nikki Stanton got on it to finally put it into the back of the net.

Things only got worse for the visitors. Reign added two more goals in extremely quick succession — don't worry, I won't hurt you by showing all the videos — and took a three goal lead by the 11th minute of the match. Luckily, the team settled down, got into the match and were able to prevent a fourth goal before the break. Even better, forward Alex Morgan, was able to find space on a great run, get on the end of a perfect pass, and finish with style to pull one back for San Diego.

The good news is, Wave were able to settle down for the second half and keep OL Reign out of the back of the net in the second 45. The bad news, they weren't able to find the back of the net either. The final whistle blew as Wave FC suffered their biggest loss of the tournament. Such is life in the NWSL. One week you're putting four past your rivals in a big one, the next you’re being humbled by a team with plenty of talent and loads of experience. The real takeaway is that a rocky start to the match was the difference in this one. Reign needed just the starting ten minutes to get enough for the win.

In the end, this tournament is all a learning experience. A chance for the team to continue building chemistry together, figuring out what works, what doesn't, and how to find consistent success come the start if the regular season. For now, Wave FC take a short rest with a quick turnaround before they face Portland Thorns on the road this Sunday.

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