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How Sweet it Is: San Diego Wave FC 4, Angel City FC 2

NWSL expansion side earn first-ever win.

San Diego Wave FC v Angel City FC - 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

San Diego Wave FC knew they had an opportunity on Saturday against Angel City FC, and they took it, defeating their fellow NWSL expansion side 4-2 on Saturday in the Challenge Cup at Torero Stadium.

This game, San Diego’s third all-time and second against their California rivals, featured Wave FC on full rest, while Angel City were coming off back-to-back multigoal losses, including one on the road on Wednesday. Behind a brace from Alex Morgan and great team play, Wave FC held on to get their historic first-ever victory.

Jodie Taylor got the start in this game, with the XI otherwise staying the same for Casey Stoney’s San Diego side to start the match.

San Diego were the sharper side to start the match and had a few really close calls in the opening minutes on corner kicks. But they found the breakthrough in the 19th minute, when Jodie Taylor cleaned up her own rebound after a header on the doorstep off an Alex Morgan chip.

But while Wave FC were firmly in control, they let the opponent right back into the game in the 38th minute, when San Diego defender Tegan McGrady hit a miscued back pass that GK Kailen Sheridan had no chance to stop. It was a mistake, but the home side redoubled their efforts to get back in the lead.

In first half stoppage time, Wave FC found their next lead, as Morgan opened her account for the club, with a follow up one-timer off a heavy touch from Angel City defender Ali Riley to make it 2-1 heading into the break.

As the second half began, Angel City tried to raise their intensity, just like in the teams’ debut meeting this year, and ACFC forward Christen Press nearly managed to sneak a deflected effort past Sheridan, who needed to make an unorthodox stop to keep it out of the net.

But Press had her moment in the 59th minute, as she tried to head in Jasmyne Spencer’s early cross, that was blocked by Christen Westphal, only to get the rebound and hit a sidewinder shot that Sheridan couldn’t keep out of the net.

Belle Briede and Amirah Ali entered the game for San Diego in the 68th minute, for Kelsey Turnbow and Sofia Jakobsson.

The game was in danger of getting away from San Diego, but with Briede helping to progress the ball forward, Morgan had a beautiful goal in the 72nd minute, as she capped off a great team sequence with a cool finish in the box to give Wave FC the 3-2 lead.

Katie Johnson entered the match in the 76th minute for Taylor, and Marleen Schimmer entered for Morgan at the same time.

Ali got her moment in the 81st minute, as she evaded a tackle from Vanessa Gilles and had open field to get the goal, which she duly got on the one-woman break, to make it 4-2.

There were certainly some nervy moments and the own goal and Press’ goal obviously made the game tight and put the result in doubt for San Diego. But all in all they were dominant, essentially doubling their opponent on shots and shots on target, and were clearly better value for the win. Without the back pass, the margin of victory would have been even more comfortable, and San Diego can be proud of the performance and result.

San Diego are off next week, along with the rest of the league, for the international break, but will next be in action on Apr. 14, when they’ll have a rare Thursday night game at OL Reign in Seattle.

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