Angel City FC and the San Diego Wave will face off Saturday in the latest edition of their cross-California rivalry match.
San Diego holds a 1-0 edge this season and a 3-1-1 advantage overall after their 2-0 win over Angel City in April. Their most recent meeting in San Diego last September drew an NWSL record 32,000 fans to Snapdragon Stadium. The Wave (6-3-2) enter the game in first place in the NWSL standings, Angel City (2-6-3) in 11th place and with an interim head coach after the club parted ways with Freya Coombe on Thursday.
While this marks the final regular-season match between the teams in 2023, two Challenge Cup games await, in Los Angeles on June 28 and in San Diego on Aug. 5.
The rivalry game will take place at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time) on Saturday, June 17. It will air on CBS and also stream online via CBS Sports.
Thompson’s pro career has gotten off to a strong start. The 2023 No. 1 draft pick has created the second-most chances for Angel City, with 18 total shots so far this season. She’s also scored three goals, tied for the most on the team with Claire Emslie. Wherever she is on the field, San Diego should have eyes on Thompson, as letting the speedy 18-year-old go unchecked could lead to danger for the visiting team.
In order for Angel City to have a shot against top-of-the-table San Diego, goalkeeper Haračić will need to be lights out against the likes of Jaedyn Shaw, Alex Morgan and Sofia Jakobsson. While she has allowed 21 goals this season, she has faced 59 shots on target and registered a 71.2% save percentage. Angel City, currently in 11th place on the NWSL table, could use an outstanding performance from Haračić. She has kept her team in games of late, with their three most recent losses ending in a one-goal difference.
Shaw’s passing abilities and goal-scoring prowess make her a rising star for San Diego. Her three goals are the second-most on the team behind Alex Morgan, and she’s been a key fixture in creating chances for her team when she’s not the one scoring. Head coach Casey Stoney called the 18-year-old’s vision among the best she has seen. Shaw could be a sleeper pick for a USWNT World Cup spot this summer and a future national team mainstay.
The reigning NWSL Rookie and Defender of the Year, Naomi Girma comes into the game with a brand-new contract that will keep her in San Diego through 2026. The reasons for that contract are clear: Girma is one of the best players the Wave have in their arsenal of talent. (And that is not a knock on the Wave but a credit to Girma — after all, San Diego features Alex Morgan, Sofia Jakobsson and other stars on its roster.) The future of the USWNT defense, Girma is an elite passer (with an astounding 86.2% completion rate, good for third in the league) and a lockdown defender (with 5.0 clearances per 90, also third in the league).
Control the transitional attack and maintain possession. Angel City has had good ball possession this season — they just haven’t managed to put together all of the pieces. Despite 36 shots on target, they’ve scored just 13 goals. They’ve also put up 149 total shots and, at some point, need them to find the back of the net. San Diego’s stats look fairly similar, with 16 goals on 44 shots on target. Can Angel City finally find an offensive breakthrough?
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan is tied for the league lead with five clean sheets. She’s had help from a strong defense, but those shutouts are also just the sign of a good goalie. Their offensive stars similarly have helped propel them to the top of the league, led by Alex Morgan’s five goals. But when they lose, they tend to lose big. Limiting Angel City’s attack will be key if San Diego wants to walk away with the win.