Saturday’s San Diego Wave FC game was a frustrating affair for the home side against the Orlando Pride. After conceding a penalty in the first half, which Orlando converted — breaking a pretty remarkable consecutive games penalty save streak for San Diego — the Pride held on to win 1-0 at Torero Stadium.
As the old story went, Wave FC huffed, and puffed, but this time they could not blow down the Orlando defense, and frustrations blew over in the dying minutes and aftermath of the match.
The broadcast really didn’t show the full picture, especially regarding the postgame red card, which went to San Diego goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. As confusion reigned on social media as rumors circulated about the post-whistle red card, the goalkeeper was ultimately the player shown the red card, and she will therefore miss the next game, Saturday against the Houston Dash at home. The stated reason from the club for the red card was “dissent.”
Even head coach Casey Stoney, who was yellow carded herself for her remarks at the officials in the dying minutes of the match, said she was confused by Sheridan’s ejection in the immediate aftermath.
“I didn’t know anything about it. I turned around and saw a red, and now I’ve got a goalkeeper crying her eyes out, absolutely devastated because she can’t even give any feedback,” Stoney told reporters after the game.
It’s safe to say the frustration reached a boiling point for San Diego as a group, as they hit the post multiple times, and truly dominated the attack in the 90 minutes: 19 shots to eight for Orlando, six on target to just two for the Pride, plus the near-misses off the post by Alex Morgan.
It was an unlucky night, to be sure, but it was in some respects a photo negative of their match two weeks earlier, when they went to play the Chicago Red Stars in Chicago, conceded a penalty, a red card in the run of play, and still somehow held on for a 1-0 win. Based on the eye test and the statistics, Chicago should have gotten that game but didn’t, and likewise in this game against Orlando for San Diego. That’s soccer.
Perhaps the frustration is heightened because this is the first real stumble in the first regular season for Wave FC. They’ve lost two in a row for the first time in regular season play, and they’ve won just once in their last five games. It could be a blip or it could be San Diego coming back down to Earth after a stunning start in their debut season, time will tell. But while they’ve gotten off to a terrific start in their history, there’s still six more games in the regular season to come, and nothing is decided yet.
In the short term, San Diego will turn to Carly Telford in goal on Saturday against Houston. The English veteran acquitted herself well while Sheridan was at the Concacaf W Championship in July, and she’ll need to step up again against a Houston side that is unbeaten in their last four games, with Ebony Salmon in stellar form for the Dash.
But Wave FC have shown resilience so far this season, and hopefully they can dig deep and grab another big result in their Torero Stadium bow on Saturday.
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