The San Diego Wave Fútbol Club played to a scoreless ties with the North Carolina Courage Friday night in their regular season finale at Snapdragon Stadium.
The Wave (10-6-6, W-L-D), which last week secured a spot in the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs, dampened the Courage’s (9-8-5) chance of postseason play.
The draw leaves San Diego still in contention for a home playoff game, depending on the remaining results of the final NWSL regular season matches this weekend. (KC Current vs Racing Louisville, Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit, Angel City vs Chicago Red Stars)
Depending on the result of the Dash vs. Spirit game, San Diego is likely to earn a playoff game at home due to goal differential.
“I have to be really pleased with the dogged performance and a point,” said Wave head coach Casey Stoney. “I think the players worked so hard tonight to earn that point, and I am really proud of them.”
Naomi Girma, who wore the captain’s armband Friday, played a large part in San Diego’s clean sheet, denying numerous chances from the NC Courage offense. Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan also made three saves, including one in stoppage time to help preserve Wave’s final point of the regular season.
“I don’t see her as a rookie at all,” Stoney said of Girma. “She looks like she’s been playing in this league for years. She just gives us that calm performance week in and week out. She is a very special player and a very special person.”
San Diego’s offense recorded two shots on goal out of seven total shots.
Sofia Jakobsson and Kelsey Turnbow helped lead the home side’s production, and Makenzy Doniak scored a goal in the 53rd minute, but it was called offside.
The team had already started to celebrate, which ended when the call was mad before an announced crowd of 18,000.
As of Friday night, the standings have the Wave in third place with 36 points. Ahead of them are Portland Thorns with 38 points and OL Reign with 37.
“We would have liked to finish higher,” said the Wave coach “We dropped points in areas that we shouldn’t have…. But to be able to do what we have done when everybody told me we couldn’t have this season being an expansion team, I should be really proud of the club, the players, the staff, and I am.”
The team approaches its first postseason as the league’s first expansion team to achieve this feat in its inaugural season. San Diego now awaits the postseason schedule in hopes of returning home to Snapdragon Stadium one last time in 2022.
The club was missing some key players in Friday night’s play due to injury: Alex Morgan, Taylor Kornieck, Katie Johnson, Abby Dahlkemper.
While the players recover from injuries, Stoney said it is time for the club to rest and reflect.
“We’ll set a game plan, and we’ll put some plans in place and instill the belief into this team that we can beat anyone because we can,” the coach said. “We’ve shown that this season.”
Playoffs are scheduled to begin Oct. 16 and continue on Oct. 23. The title match is Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C.