San Diego Wave FC will kick off NWSL playoff run at Snapdragon Stadium
The San Diego Wave FC is poised to make history — again.
Driving the news: The Wave will host the OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League semifinal at Snapdragon Stadium on Sunday in its pursuit of the club's first NWSL Championship trophy.
- The Wave built on that success and now hope to become the sixth team crowned NWSL champion in a decade of league play — an impressive feat for a team only in its second year of existence.
What they're saying: "We're all, so far, really proud of what we've accomplished this season, but we want more," midfielder Sierra Enge told Axios. "We want another trophy."
- Playing at Snapdragon is particularly special for the rookie from Cardiff who was drafted 13th overall by her hometown club.
Catch up quick: The Wave entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed after winning the NWSL Shield with the best regular season record, earning a first-round bye and securing a home game in the semis.
- Reality check: Seattle's OL Reign won all four matchups between the two teams this season. This will be the team's fifth straight playoffs, but they've never won the title.
- Plus: With the bye and a mid-playoff pause for international friendlies, the Wave haven't played a game together since Oct. 15.
State of play: The home-field advantage could help lift the Wave, which recently set a new NWSL single-season average attendance record of 20,718.
- It's only the second time a club has surpassed the 20,000-mark for one season.
- Snapdragon Stadium also set the league record for attendance in a playoff match at 26,215 last year.
The intrigue: Both teams have several players with World Cup and U.S. Women's National Team experience, including Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, Abby Dahlkemper and rising star Jaedyn Shaw.
- This could also be the final NWSL game for the iconic Megan Rapinoe, who is retiring. The Reign's Emily Sonnett and Rose Lavelle are also players to watch.
Of note: Girma, a finalist for both 2023 NWSL MVP and defender of the year, is a reliable force on the backline.
- Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who also plays for Canada's national team, is the reigning NWSL goalkeeper of the year and a top contender for the award this year.
- Wave head coach Casey Stoney is again up for coach of the year after earning the title last season.
Flashback: In last year's semi-final game, the Wave lost in a devastating fashion when Portland Thorns' Crystal Dunn scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes of stoppage time.
- Portland then beat the Kansas City Current to win the 2022 NWSL championship.
What's next: Kickoff is at 6:30pm Sunday. Tickets are for sale starting at $10.
- Regardless of the outcome, Snapdragon will host the NWSL Championship on Nov. 11.
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