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  • Writer's pictureOllie Cad

SoCal Rivalry: ACFC vs. SD Wave Match Recap

Updated: Jul 10, 2022

For their third match-up in the NWSL 2022 regular season, on July 9, 2022, California expansion teams Angel City FC and the San Diego Wave FC went head to head at the Banc of California Stadium.

Graphic by: NWSL, Photo Credit: @melvinrocker on Twitter

Both fanbases have highly anticipated the emerging rivalry between the two west-coast teams, even accumulating in a social media poll on what to name it (the jury is still out on this one). The match ended in a 2-1 ACFC win in the soldout Banc Stadium with 22,000 fans in attendance ending the Wave’s 5-game no-loss streak and marking the first time in 280 minutes of play that they have trailed in scoring. The game saw amazing playing from both teams and three explosive goals.

The match began with an immediate dominance from the Wave with some concise and deliberate passing sequences that put them at the advantage, much like what we’ve seen with their previous matchups this season. However, ACFC ensured their defensive strategy was appropriate to the viciousness of San Diego’s attack and started the match with a solid defensive line that would be maintained throughout the game. This defensive play from ACFC prevented an early sequence and possible goal from San Diego in the second minute of the match. In the 4th minute, ACFC’s 22-year-old international player and emerging club star Jun Endo saw an opportunity for a shot but it sailed over the crossbar. However, this initial attempt from Endo set the tone for what would be a fantastic game for her.

The Wave regained some composure in the 5th minute after a foul was called against Megan Reid, allowing US Women’s National Team player Abby Dahlkemper to take the free-kick. This shot was easily saved by ACFC keeper Didi Haračić who would later go on to make the game-winning save for her club.

Ali Riley celebrates with her Angel City teammates after scoring her first goal in her hometown on Sat, 7/9 at the Banc of California Stadium. Photo Credit: @TheEqualizer on Twitter

In the 9th minute, Angel City’s newly acquired Sydney Leroux crossed the ball in San Diego’s box to Endo who then patiently waited for defender Ali Riley to come up along her left side. She passed the ball and allowed Riley to take the shot at a wide angle but ultimately gave Angel City FC their first goal of the match. This was Riley’s first regular-season goal and a monumental moment for both her as well as her club.

From the 10th minute to the 19th minute, the Wave attempted a series of attacks down the left side of the field with some solid runs from Makenzy Doniak. However, the defensive combination of Reid and Haračić ensured nothing came from those attacks. San Diego regained some speed in the 30th minute with a shot from Marleen Schimmer that was just a bit too wide and then an attempt from Tegan McGrady that was cleared by Reid. Between these two attempts in the 21st minute, ACFC’s right-back Tyler Lussi was issued the first yellow card of the night after a foul.

Reid proved to be a solid asset in maintaining the first-half shutout for ACFC, in the 38th minute, San Diego had a great passing sequence between Kelsey Turnbow and Doniak up the left side but it was once again cleared by Reid. In a last-shot effort to get on the board during stoppage time, San Diego’s Schimmer attempted a run to goal but it was once again swiftly defended.

The second half began with some immediate dominance from ACFC. In the 46th minute, Leroux attempted a bicycle kick that was just slightly off the right post but overall showed an eager and admirable effort from ACFC going into the second half. In the 50th minute, Leroux managed to score a goal but it was ruled offside. During the 59th minute, the Wave managed to retaliate to Riley’s 9th-minute goal with an assist from Katie Johnson to Kristen McNabb and scored San Diego’s only goal of the night. This added pressure on ACFC led to a series of shots from the 70th-80th minute from Endo and Madison Hammond. While these shots didn’t accumulate into a second goal, they set the energy that would eventually secure ACFC’s win.

Jun Endo hugs Claire Emslie after Emslie scores her first Angel City goal in her debut. Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez

In the 78th minute, Lussi received her second yellow card and subsequent red which led her off the field and left ACFC with only 10 players to finish the last 20 minutes of the game. This didn’t seem to slow them down, however; in the 81st minute off a passing sequence from Cari Roccoro to Leroux and then to Claire Emslie, Emslie buried the ball in the back of the net giving Angel City FC the game-winning goal. This was Emslie’s first goal for ACFC as well as her first appearance, making her Angel City’s player of the match.

San Diego's Kaleigh Riehl dribbles past Angel City's Jun Endo in their rivalry game on Sat 7/9. Photo Credit: @sandiegowavefc on Twitter

Until the end of the match San Diego had various opportunities to equalize the score but unfortunately could not find the momentum to follow through with any of them, especially with Haračić in goal who was determined to not concede another goal. After a spectacular save from her, ACFC secured the victory.

Angel City goalkeeper, Didi Haračić, jumps on her teammates after a goal was scored in the game against San Diego Wave on Sat 7/9. Photo Credit: @womenkickballs on Twitter

The results of this game moved ACFC up two places into the 4th slot of the NWSL standings with 17 points and kept San Diego with 21 points at the top of the table. Overall, both teams were at a significant disadvantage with an abundance of San Diego’s team on international duty and ACFC suffering from multiple injuries. However, both teams displayed some real grit with just how hard-fought the match-up was and it seems to be the great start to a Southern California rivalry in the NWSL.

San Diego and Angel City’s next games are on July 15, 2022, with ACFC against the North Carolina Courage and the Wave against Racing Louisville.


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