Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (3-5-6, 15 points) travel west to take on San Diego Wave FC (7-4-4, 25 points) for the first time. It’s the first of two meetings between the two teams this season, with the return game in Orlando taking place on Sept. 25, the penultimate game of the season.
Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s game.
San Diego joined Angel City FC this season as the newest NWSL expansion sides, expanding the league’s footprint in the western part of the country. While the teams have yet to play each other, the Pride have some history with multiple players. Similar to Angel City, San Diego took advantage of the Pride’s current rebuild, picking up four players that were on the team last season. The Wave currently have Taylor Kornieck, Alex Morgan, Jodie Taylor, and Emily van Egmond on their roster, all acquired from the Pride through trades.
The Pride enter this game on a five-game unbeaten run (1-0-4) under Interim Head Coach Seb Hines. The streak dates back to the team’s 2-2 draw against Racing Louisville in Daytona on July 3.
The team most recently took the field last weekend at Exploria Stadium against Angel City FC. The Pride went behind twice in that game, first through an Ali Riley wonderstrike in the 40th minute and then through a Cari Roccaro goal in the 72nd minute. However, they responded both times. Julie Doyle opened the Pride’s scoring in the 64th minute and a Paige Nielsen own goal in the 90th minute resulted in a 2-2 draw.
While they’ve only come away with draws, the Pride are coming off two games they should’ve won. On July 31, they took a 2-0 lead in Kansas City against the Current through a Celia goal in the first half and a Doyle goal just after halftime. However, the hosts scored twice in the second half for the Pride’s second 2-2 draw in four games.
It was a different story against Angel City as the Pride were the better team. The attack down the left with Kylie Strom and Kerry Abello created problems for the visitors all night, resulting in the Pride leading nearly every statistical category. Better finishing by Erika Tymrak, who had two golden chances, or Darian Jenkins, who missed a sitter from right in front of goal, likely would’ve seen the Pride take all three points in a crucial match-up.
It will be interesting to see what Hines does with the striker position to start this game. The typical starter has been Jenkins, but she has been unable to find the net recently. Meanwhile, rookie Doyle has been terrific in the last two games, scoring a goal in each. After starting in Kansas City, Doyle provided a second-half spark against Angel City, scoring a goal on a play that she started.
San Diego has had an outstanding inaugural NWSL season, currently sitting second in the standings — just three points behind the Portland Thorns. The team has only had one long unbeaten run this season, which lasted for five games, but has yet to lose consecutive games. This fact is notable as the team is coming off a 2-1 loss at home to the Current last weekend.
Unsurprisingly, San Diego is led by former Pride star Morgan. The USWNT striker has a team- and league-leading 11 goals this season — nine more than the second most scored for the Wave.
While San Diego is fourth in the league in goals scored, with 21, they’ve been the best defensive team in the NWSL this season, conceding just 13 goals. Starting goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who the Wave picked up from Gotham FC during the off-season, has recorded five clean sheets in 12 games this season.
“(San Diego) are a team on form,” Hines said about tonight’s game. “Last game they didn’t win, but they are at the top of the table and going to be difficult to play against away from home. We have some good momentum and we have been playing some really good football and we have to continue that into the next game.”
While Marta (knee) and Parker Roberts (foot) remain out for tonight’s game, Gunny Jonsdottir and Leah Pruitt are off the injury report. Additionally, Megan Montefusco is available after serving her suspension for yellow card accumulation. However, Carrie Lawrence (concussion protocol) and Abi Kim (concussion protocol) are out.
San Diego only has two players missing tonight. Mia Gyau (foot) is out injured and Jaedyn Shaw (United States) is at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Orlando Pride (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Erin McLeod.
Defenders: Celia, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom.
Defensive Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Jordyn Listro.
Midfielders: Erika Tymrak, Viviana Villacorta, Kerry Abello.
Forwards: Julie Doyle.
Bench: Anna Moorhouse, Thais Reiss, Haley Bugeja, Courtney Petersen, Mikayla Cluff, Darian Jenkins, Caitlin Cosme, Leah Pruitt, Gunny Jonsdottir.
San Diego Wave FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan.
Defenders: Kristen McNabb, Naomi Girma, Kaleigh Riehl, Christen Westphal.
Midfielders: Taylor Kornieck, Emily van Egmond, Katie Johnson.
Forwards: Kelsey Turnbow, Alex Morgan, Amirah Ali.
Bench: Sofia Jakobsson, Belle Briede, Marleen Schimmer, Makenzy Doniak, Abby Dahlkemper, Taylor Hansen, Jodie Taylor, Madison Pogarch, Carly Telford.
REF: Adorae Monroy.
AR1: Stephen McGonagle.
AR2: Fernando Fierro.
4TH: Patricia McCracken.
How to Watch
Match Time: 10:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Torero Stadium — San Diego, CA.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!