Christen Westphal (left) and Megan Ripinoe fight for the ball. Photo by Chris Stone
Christen Westphal (left) and Megan Rapinoe fight for the ball. Photo by Chris Stone

Olympic and World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe made her first appearance at Torero Stadium, but the San Diego Wave finished a three-match week Sunday by collecting a point thanks to a record-breaking goal from Team USA teammate Alex Morgan.

The Wave tied Seattle’s OL Reign 1-1 in front of 5,000 fans at the University of San Diego.

“Overall, I felt like we had a pretty good team performance, a really tough week,” Morgan said. “So it’s nice to come out feeling feeling good about this tie.”

The match maintains league-leading San Diego’s unbeaten home record in the National Women’s Soccer League regular season. San Diego moves to a record of 4-3-2 heading into next weekend’s match against Gotham FC in New Jersey. 

Morgan got the home crowd on its feet early as she found the back of the net in the eighth minute of the match after Kailen Sheridan played a through-ball to Morgan.

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Megan Rapinoe hugs Alex Morgan before the start of the match. Photo by Chris Stone
A young fan does a selfie with a poster of Alex Morgan. Photo by Chris Stone
Zion Clark, a wrestler and track athlete born without legs, pauses during the national anthem Photo by Chris Stone
Alex Morgan kicked the solo goal for SD Wave in the 8th minute of the match. Photo by Chris Stone
Alex Morgan celebrates after scoring a goal early in the first half. Photo by Chris Stone
SD Wave players celebrate after Alex Morgan’s goal. Photo by Chris Stone
Kelsey Turnbow (right) takes a shot toward the goal. Photo by Chris Stone
Olympic Discus Thrower Reggie Jagers III uses his technique to toss a t-shirt into the stands at half time. Photo by Chris Stone
More than 5,000 fans were in attendance for the afternoon game. Photo by Chris Stone
Young soccer players yelled for Alex Morgan to get up and “brush it off” when injured. Photo by Chris Stone
Wave player Kelsey Turnbow is knocked to the grass by OL Reign player Rebecca Quinn, but no foul was called. Photo by Chris Stone
Kelsey Turbow (center) and Alex Morgan (second from right) appeals to the referee for a foul call. Photo by Chris Stone
Soccer Legend Megan Rapinoe tosses in the ball for her team, OL Reign. Photo by Chris Stone
Megan Rapinoe does a corner kick in the second half of the match. Photo by Chris Stone
Soccer Legend Megan Rapinoe made her first appearance at Torero Stadium. Photo by Chris Stone
Young soccer players cheer for their favorite player, Alex Morgan. Photo by Chris Stone
Alex Morgan reacts when narrowly missing a goal. Photo by Chris Stone
Alex Morgan (left) and OL Reign player Sofia Huerta scramble for the ball in the second half. Photo by Chris Stone
Naomi Girma shows appreciation for fan cheers after the match. Photo by Chris Stone
OL Reign’s Megan Rapinoe reacts to fans calling her name at end of game. Photo by Chris Stone
Soccer Legend Megan Rapinoe laughs while talking to Abbie Dahlkemper after the match. Photo by Chris Stone

This goal tied Morgan’s NWSL single-season best of nine goals scored when she was a member of Orlando Pride in 2017. It also tallied Sheridan’s first assist of the season. 

Morgan said of the goalkeeper: “Kailen is great with her feet, and her range is the best in the league… It helps us so much.”

Asked about the high quality of her play this year, Morgan said, “In regards to kind of the season that I’ve had so far, you know, I, I just feel really settled really at peace with my play on the field, and then just my life off the field.

“And I think it’s all come together at the right time,” the soccer superstar added.

OL Reign equalized the score with a goal from Jess Fishlock in the 38th minute from a one touch shot to the back of the net, for her seventh goal of the season.

Shortly after scoring the goal, Morgan was injured in a play and remained lying on the pitch while someone went to check on her. A group of young girl soccer players tried to coach her from the stands.

“Get up,” they yelled repeated, possibly out of earshot of Morgan. “Shake it off. Shake it off,” and “It will be OK,” they continued and later shouted, “Be aggressive, be be aggressive,” possibly echoing what they have been told at their youth games.

The second half stayed level at 1-1 between the two teams with a high intensity end to the match and each team taking home a point from the draw. 

The officiating in the match again brought some frustration.

Kelsey Turnbow is doubled up in pain after being hit by Reign’s Alana Cook (No. 7). Photo by Chris Stone

“I don’t feel like a lot of calls went our way,” Morgan said in a post-match press conference. “Actually, a lot of calls went against us unfairly.”

“But at the same time, I’m just proud of this group for kind of getting through this tough week,” she continued. “And kind of showing a lot of grit.”

Morgan said that as team captain she voiced her concerns to the referees. “I want to speak on behalf of the team … He wasn’t protecting us in the way that I feel like a ref should.”

Wave head coach Casey Stoney also expressed her disagreement with calls, and was given a yellow card as a result of her exchanges with officials, especially after complaining about a hit on the Wave’s Kelsey Turnbow by the Reign’s Alana Cook.

“The main priority of referees to protect the players and make the game safe,” Stoney said after the match. “And I didn’t feel my players was safe.”

Stoney continued: “I think it’s a question for the league if they think that’s an acceptable level of officiating…. That’s up to them to decide because I’ll just get fined if I speak candidly.”

The Wave made numerous shots on the net in the first ten minutes of the game. Stoney said she was very pleased with the start of the match.

“We’ve created chances now it’s finishing them,” the coach said.

The team played three games in the last eight days. Players said their fitness level has helped them stay strong on their legs.

The Wave tied in their last two matches, against the Portland Thorns and OL Reign, two teams that beat them earlier in the spring.

“Asked how she felt about playing against, rather than with, Rapinoe, 36, Morgan said, “There was a lot of banter on the field, which is fun, but I was trying to stay in the zone and not engage in that. “

“But it’s always fun playing against Pinoe,” Morgan continued. “She’s obviously a very technical player, she reads the game so well… And I’m just happy to see her back on the field.”

Rapinoe had been sidelined this season with injuries.

Morgan and Ripinoe were teammates on the Seattle Sounders 2012 and were co-captains on the national team from 2018-2020.

The Wave will prepare for next Sunday’s match against Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena. This will be Wave FC’s second match against Gotham FC this season. Their previous match up ended in a win for Wave FC with a score of 4-0, where Morgan set NWSL records by scoring all four of the goals.


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Ellen Bullock