San Diego Wave FC return to Snapdragon Stadium this Sunday, Nov. 5, to host OL Reign in the semifinal match.
Kickoff against the Reign is slated for 6:30 p.m. PT and tickets to the game are available here. The contest will also be televised on CBS Sports Network. The Wave will be pushing the semifinal match throughout the week, culminating with the match against Seattle.
It will be the first playoff encounter between the two teams, marking the first semifinal in NWSL history that will feature the current Shield winners against the previous year’s Shield winner. San Diego clinched the 2023 NWSL Shield on Oct. 15 with a 2-0 win over Racing Louisville, finishing the season with the best regular season record. Last season, OL Reign clinched the Shield following a season with 40 accumulated points through the regular season.
The Wave (11-7-4) earned a first-round bye with the No. 1 overall seed. Led by captain Alex Morgan, who led the team in goals (7) and assists (5). Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, a nominee for NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year following the award last year, earned nine sheets for San Diego, a career best for the Canadian international.
OL Reign (9-8-5) defeated Angel City in the quarterfinals to earn their semifinal berth. Balcer led the team in goals (6), while U.S. WNT star Megan Rapinoe led the club in assists (5). In the regular season, Seattle conceded 24 goals, earning eight clean sheets, while scoring 29.
Since the Wave’s inaugural season, the club has yet to beat Seattle, with San Diego holding a 0-1-3 series record. In 2023, midfielder Jaedyn Shaw has scored the lone goal for San Diego, while Reign midfielder Bethany Balcer has scored all three for Seattle.
Homegrown Talent: This season, the Wave have added three talents that are from San Diego in Melanie Barcenas, Sierra Enge and Kyra Carusa. Barcenas, the 16-year-old in her rookie campaign, earned seven appearances after signing for the club as the youngest-ever player in NWSL history. Enge, the Wave’s 13th overall pick in the NWSL Draft and a Cardiff-native, played in 10 games (seven starts) in her rookie season, while earning two goals. Carusa joined the Wave mid-season and immediately made an impact on the front line, earning two game-winning goals, including the club’s playoff berth win over Portland on Sept. 30.
Second Consecutive Playoff Berth: In 2022, San Diego became the first NWSL expansion team to reach the playoffs in their inaugural season. In the club’s second season, the Wave built on the success of year one and clinched the NWSL Shield and earned their second-consecutive playoff berth and a first-round bye.
NWSL Awards: Following the regular season, NWSL announced the finalists for the end of year awards. Defender Naomi Girma was named a finalist for MVP and Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan named to Goalkeeper of the Year list and Head Coach Casey Stoney a finalist for Coach of the Year. All three won awards last season – Girma was Defender and Rookie of the Year, Sheridan was Goalkeeper of the Year and Stoney was Coach of the Year.