The buildup to the San Diego Wave Fútbol Club’s first match Saturday in its new home — Snapdragon Stadium — was pressure-filled. The aim was to fill the seats and put on a winning show.
The club met its goals with a roaring crowd of 32,000 fans and 1-0 win over rival expansion team Angel City FC, even though some agreed it wasn’t their best technical effort.
Wave head coach Casey Stoney admitted she was happy to put it in the rearview mirror.
The match marked the largest crowd to ever attend a National Women’s Soccer League match in the league’s 10 years of existence.
“The most important thing is three points and I’m so proud of them because it keeps us in and around the playoffs and I think that’s so important,” Stoney said. “We are making history.”
Jaedyn Shaw, a 17-year-old rookie, added to the historic night, scoring the game-winning goal, the team’s first at Snapdragon and her third goal in just three appearances.
In her first home match for the club, Shaw put the crowd on its feet in the 30th minute with a header off a ball from Sofia Jakobsson.
“She’s so mature for a 17-year-old,” Stoney said. “She’s extremely talented.”
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan also stood out with four saves overall, including a crucial block in the 34th minute, denying Angel City’s June Endo’s left-footed strike from just outside the box.
The Canadian national team star went on to save her third penalty of the 2022 season in the 74th minute.
Angel City’s Savannah McCaskill attempted from the spot but was unsuccessful as Sheridan dove to the left to block the shot before then saving the rebound.
Defender Abby Dahlkemper spoke about the significant part Sheridan played in Saturday’s victory.
“Unbelievable. As a center back it is so important to have a confident, good goalkeeper, and she is that,” Dahlkemper said. “She is so reliable. She is one of the best — if not THE best — goalkeepers in the world.”
The win put the team back on top of the NWSL table with 34 points and a record of 10-6-4 (W-L-D).
Forward Alex Morgan said: “To get the win here tonight, grind it out, and have an incredible save by Kailen [Sheridan] at the end to keep us on top was what we needed.”
“To have the fans behind us from minute one to the last minute was incredible,” the club’s star said after the match. “Such a memorable moment for all of us.”
Referring to the soldout match, Morgan said, “I just love breaking records. It feels good.”
Morgan was pleased to see so much growth and progress happening in women’s soccer globally: “It’s really a fun time to be a soccer player right now and I’m just enjoying the moment.”
Wave now travels to battle the Orlando Pride on Sunday, Sept. 25, before returning home for their final regular season home match at Snapdragon Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30, against the North Carolina Courage.
Tickets for San Diego’s final home match are on sale now at www.sandiegowavefc.com/tickets.