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Четверг, 25 июля, 2024

Tempers Flare Over Officiating as SD Wave Ties Reign to Close Preseason

SportsTempers Flare Over Officiating as SD Wave Ties Reign to Close Preseason

Alex Morgan kicks in the Wave's only goal of the evening. Photo by Chris StoneAlex Morgan kicks in the Wave’s only goal of the evening. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego Wave and OL Reign played to a physical 1-1 draw Saturday in front of a spirited crowd of 6,000 at USD’s Torero Stadium — plus one peeved coach after a blown call.

It marked the second sellout in three preseason Challenge Cup tournament matches for the Wave as they now look ahead to their inaugural regular season opener Sunday, May 1, at Houston in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Ally Watt began the scoring for Seattle’s Reign with an empty-net goal in the 13th minute. Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan slipped on the grass attempting to clear a ball at the top of the 18 and was a half-second late in regaining possession when Reign forward Bethany Balcer raced in and poked the loose ball over to Watt setting up the goal.

After a few close scoring chances from the Wave’s Kelsey Turnbow in the 16th and 32nd minutes, Alex Morgan evened the match in first-half stoppage time with a left-footed penalty kick that hit the left-corner of the net.

The goal was Morgan’s team-leading fourth of Challenge Cup play and places her in a tie for second across the entire NWSL.

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San Diego Wave players celebrate a goal by Alex Morgan. Photo by Chris StoneSan Diego Wave players celebrate a goal by Alex Morgan. Photo by Chris Stone Emily Van Egmond (center, facing) celebrates with Alex Morgan after the goal. Photo by Chris StoneEmily Van Egmond (center, facing) celebrates with Alex Morgan after the goal. Photo by Chris Stone Young girls cheer as Alex Morgan scores a goal. Photo by Chris StoneYoung girls cheer as Alex Morgan scores a goal. Photo by Chris Stone A young San Diego Wave fan demonstrates her passion. Photo by Chris StoneA young San Diego Wave fan demonstrates her passion. Photo by Chris Stone OL Reign players protest the referee's call. Photo by Chris StoneOL Reign players protest the referee’s call. Photo by Chris Stone San Diego Wave player Jodie Taylor expresses displeasure with a referee's call. Photo by Chris StoneSan Diego Wave player Jodie Taylor expresses displeasure with a referee’s call. Photo by Chris Stone Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney (center) complains to referees at the end of the match. Photo by Chris Stone

(Morgan didn’t return for the second half of the match because, Stoney said, she “tightened up.” The Wave’s Abby Dahlkemper and Katie Johnson were both unavailable due to COVID protocols.)

San Diego earned the penalty opportunity on a handball inside the box by Reign’s Ally Watt off a shot by midfielder Emily van Egmond.

Wave went down a player in the 81st minute after Kelsey Turnbow received her second yellow on a slide tackle into Reign’s Jess Fishlock. San Diego’s defense held strong to close out the draw, despite playing with 10-players and after repeated set-piece opportunities by Reign in the final 10 minutes.

Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney said: “Overall, I’m super proud of the team in terms of their reaction from the previous two games. We showed real grit and resilience and desire. I thought we defended so much better than we have in the previous games.”

But Stoney added: “The rule is when the ball hits the referee, she is supposed to stop the game and blow the whistle, which she didn’t. That’s disappointing. We lost a player, but we still stayed in the game.”

She added at a postgame news conference: “I don’t think I kept my composure when Kelsey was sent off because I felt the referee touching the ball set them on the attack, which meant Kelsey made a late challenge, but the referee should have stopped the game. The rules are the rules. We need to be better adhering to the rules.”

Stoney felt Turnbow didn’t deserve the first yellow card nor the second penalty, which resulted in a red card. In the second incident, Stoney thought Turnbow was the one who was fouled.

In addition, Stoney took exception to a veteran Reign player who leaned over Turnbow, a rookie, in a menacing way.

“I wouldn’t accept that from one of my players,” she said “It was officiating that was the issue tonight. Kelsey is an incredible young talent.”

Wave forward Jodie Taylor said: “Coming off a tough couple of losses on the road, I think our mentality has been really good this week. We started really aggressive and fought with high energy, which was what the [game plan] was … it was a gritty performance against a very good OL Reign team.”
 
San Diego closes its first-ever Challenge Cup with a 1-3-2 record. The next match at Torero Stadium will be for the regular season home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 7, vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC.

Tickets for the opener and all 2022 home matches played at Torero Stadium are available now at sandiegowavefc.com/tickets.

Chris Stone contributed to this report.

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