The San Diego Wave kicked off the 2023 NWSL season in dramatic fashion. Competing in front more than 30,000 fans at Snapdragon Stadium, Alex Morgan converted a penalty in the 89th minute to secure a 3-2 win against the Chicago Red Stars.
The Wave’s home crowd of 30,854 broke the record for largest NWSL home opener, previously set by the Orlando Pride (23,403) in 2016.
“30,000 in the stands just kept us going,” Morgan said while walking a post-game victory lap. “Just to win in our first game, feel good going into the season, there’s no better feeling. Hopefully we get 30,000 fans next game.”
30,854 made this happen.See you next weekend🤍 pic.twitter.com/StApy3LLnL— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) March 26, 2023
30,854 made this happen.See you next weekend🤍 pic.twitter.com/StApy3LLnL
The Chicago Red Stars got on the board first with an 18th minute goal from Yuki Nagasato, but the Wave equalized quickly thanks to this Amirah Ali header (video below).
And just like that @sandiegowavefc level it back up! pic.twitter.com/pynkd5JJ1M— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) March 26, 2023
And just like that @sandiegowavefc level it back up! pic.twitter.com/pynkd5JJ1M
The two teams headed to halftime tied 2-2 after 18-year-old Jaedyn Shaw scored for the Wave off a corner kick. Mallory Swanson (née Pugh) then equalized for the Red Stars on a penalty (video below).
Mallory Swanson with the equalizer for Chicago and we have FOUR first half goals here in San Diego. 😳 pic.twitter.com/ycstopSwdk— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) March 26, 2023
Mallory Swanson with the equalizer for Chicago and we have FOUR first half goals here in San Diego. 😳 pic.twitter.com/ycstopSwdk
The second half was scoreless until Red Stars defender Arin Wright was called for a handball and San Diego was awarded a penalty. Alex Morgan tucked the ball just inside the left post, just out of the reach of USWNT teammate Alyssa Naeher.
First game of her 13th season and AM13 bags the game-winner. PERFECTION 🤌pic.twitter.com/DSxj9J9fKY— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) March 26, 2023
First game of her 13th season and AM13 bags the game-winner. PERFECTION 🤌pic.twitter.com/DSxj9J9fKY