A penalty was the difference in the game, as San Diego once again stacked up tons of chances but were held scoreless, Alex Morgan hitting the post twice and the team just off target otherwise throughout the match.
Kaleigh Riehl kept her place in the XI for San Diego, with Abby Dahlkemper back in the squad but starting from the bench, somewhat surprisingly. Amirah Ali, who scored off the bench in the last game, got a hard-earned start.
San Diego nearly scored in the opening minute, with a quick jaunt down to Orlando’s goal and Ali forcing a save by Orlando GK Erin McLeod.
Morgan then had a great look in the 5th minute, holding off multiple defenders on a breakaway, but her shot clanged the post and bounced away.
Orlando had the game-changing break in the 23rd minute, after Riehl handled the ball in San Diego’s box and a penalty was called. Meggie Dougherty-Howard’s attempt beat Kailen Sheridan, who had a two-game penalty save streak coming into the game, so that was a real bummer to see that end.
The rest of the 1st half was tough for Wave FC, as only Ali was able to wriggle free for some nice moments on the ball, but they went into the halftime break down a goal and looking to regroup.
San Diego worked hard to find the equalizer after the break, and it looked like Morgan had her goal at the hour mark, only for her attempt on an indirect free kick clanging off the post again.
Moments later, Sofia Jakobsson replaced Ali on the field, as Wave FC continued to push for the all-important goal. Taylor Kornieck also became more involved in the attack as the 2nd half wore on, with several speculative to good chances, just missing the target each time.
Makenzy Doniak replaced Katie Johnson in the 70th minute, with Wave FC really banging on the door at that point. Marleen Schimmer was the final substitute for San Diego, entering for Kelsey Turnbow in the 81st minute.
But San Diego just couldn’t get the breakthrough. It’s a frustrating outcome, as they really had a lot of solid looks, equal to what they’ve been creating this season, but on this night they couldn’t get the goals when they needed them. On one hand, they probably shouldn’t have won two weeks ago against the Chicago Red Stars, but they did, and in this one they should have gotten something from it, but they didn’t.
Soccer’s like that sometimes, but with San Diego looking to stay in the playoff places, they’ve suddenly encountered a bunch of teams either surpassing them or hot on their heels. The next few games are going to be vital in the Wave FC season, frankly.
San Diego’s last game at Torero Stadium will be their next, next Saturday against the Houston Dash. Wave FC executed a smash-and-grab win at Houston when these teams met on the opening weekend of the regular season, and we’ll see if a resurgent Dash side returns the favor or if San Diego can complete the season sweep over their opponent.
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