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San Diego Wave vs. Angel City FC: What to know about the rivalry

Angel City’s Julie Ertz defends San Diego’s Jaedyn Shaw during the teams’ first meeting in April. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

The latest episode of the NWSL’s SoCal rivalry kicks off this Saturday, June 17, when the San Diego Wave host Angel City FC at Snapdragon Stadium. San Diego, unbeaten in five straight matches, currently leads the NWSL standings. Meanwhile, Angel City is looking for a statement win after hitting a midseason rough patch, going winless in their last five regular season matches.

Ahead of the game, here is a brief overview of the history of the rivalry and what’s at stake.

Angel City vs. San Diego: How they got here

Angel City FC made waves when it was first announced as an NWSL expansion franchise in July 2020.

From the start, the club sought to shake up traditional ownership structures, launching with a majority female ownership group and a long list of celebrity investors. That group is led by actress Natalie Portman, entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and venture capitalists Kara Nortman and Alexis Ohanian. Other founding team members include tennis legend Serena Williams, WNBA star Candace Parker, actresses Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain, and former U.S. women’s national team players Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Abby Wambach.

San Diego Wave FC first came into the mix in June 2021, when the NWSL announced the southern California city as the location for an expansion team owned by Ron Burkle. It didn’t take long for the team to make a few high-profile additions, appointing two-time World Cup champion coach Jill Ellis as club president, hiring Casey Stoney as head coach and acquiring USWNT stars Abby Dahlkemper and Alex Morgan.

In 2022, the Wave had the most successful inaugural season for an expansion team in NWSL history. They were not only the first expansion team to make the playoffs in their first year after finishing third in the regular-season standings, but also the first to host and win a playoff game. In addition, San Diego nearly swept the end-of-season individual awards: Stoney was named Coach of the Year, Kailen earned Sheridan Goalkeeper of the Year and Naomi Girma took home Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Morgan also finished first in the Golden Boot race with 15 goals.

Alex Morgan leads San Diego in goals scored this season with five. (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)

Head-to-head results

Since San Diego and Angel City began play in the NWSL in 2022, the two sides have met five times total, including three times during the regular season. Here is their head-to-head history:

  • March 19, 2022 (Challenge Cup): 1-1 draw
  • April 2, 2022 (Challenge Cup): San Diego won 4-2
  • July 9, 2022: Angel City won 2-1
  • September 17, 2022: San Diego won 1-0
  • April 23, 2023: San Diego won 2-0

San Diego and Angel City have drawn huge crowds for their rivalry games. San Diego broke the NWSL attendance record in the team’s debut game at Snapdragon Stadium in September 2022 when 32,000 fans packed the stands to watch the Wave win 1-0. Sellout crowds of 22,000 fans also attended both of the Angel City-hosted games at BMO Stadium.

What they’ve said about the rivalry

After the teams’ first meeting of the year, a 2-0 win for San Diego in April, players and coaches spoke about the budding rivalry and its importance in the women’s soccer landscape. Julie Ertz made her debut with Angel City in that game after signing with the club on April 17. On Saturday, the USWNT midfielder will be more game-ready after having played in six matches across all competitions.

Wave head coach Casey Stoney: “I think the rivalry is fantastic. I love it. It’s amazing to have this derby, the fact we don’t have to go on a plane and it’s a local derby, I think the fans really get behind it. I think it’s exciting for the players. It adds a little bit of an edge.”

Wave defender Naomi Girma: “I think it’s always good to win a rivalry (game). It’s only our second year in the league, us and L.A. (Angel City), but I think this has already become one of the biggest rivalries in the league, so it’s a really good feeling to come to this stadium, great atmosphere, great fans and to come away with the win.”

Angel City midfielder Savannah McCaskill: “It’s exciting that we have another SoCal team because we can create this derby effect. Rivalry games are fun, it’s something that you step up to the plate for.

Alyssa Thompson has been a revelation for Angel City after being drafted No. 1 overall. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

2023 Women’s World Cup Preview

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is just around the corner and this will be one of the last chances for U.S. players to make a case for selection before USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski names his roster later this month.

From San Diego, American players in contention include defender Naomi Girma, midfielder Taylor Kornieck, forward Alex Morgan, and forward/midfielder Jaedyn Shaw, while Angel City’s top hopefuls include midfielder Julie Ertz and forward Alyssa Thompson.

Meanwhile, San Diego goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan has already been named to Canada’s World Cup roster.

How to watch Angel City vs. San Diego Wave

If you won’t be watching in-person at Snapdragon Stadium on Saturday, you can catch the game on CBS (1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET).

The Late Sub Podcast: Can the USWNT Medal?

The USWNT takes a silly face photo during their team Olympic photo shoot
The USWNT will begin their 2024 Olympic medal hunt on Thursday. (Brad Smith/ISI/Getty Images).

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins discusses WNBA All-Star Weekend, which felt both like a celebration of the league's explosive growth over the past year and a way to set Team USA up for a particularly competitive Summer Olympics.

Later, Watkins previews the field for the upcoming Olympic soccer tournament, nominating her personal "Group of Death" and discussing whether or not the new-era USWNT could still reach medal contention despite their current rebuild under new head coach Emma Hayes.

Subscribe to The Late Sub to never miss an episode.

Team USA, Germany Play Pre-Olympic Exhibition Game in London

Team USA's 5x5 Basketball Team stands for the National Anthem before Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game
Team USA looks to rebound from Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game loss in an exhibition against Germany today. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball's 5x5 team will tip off in an exhibition against Germany in London this afternoon, getting in one last tune-up before the Summer Olympics begin.

The US is hunting an eighth-straight gold medal this year, with group stage play starting on July 29th.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to face Germany in pre-Olympic exhibition.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to take on Germany in London. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

US to use All-Star loss as fuel

Coming off the weekend's All-Star Game loss, the Olympians are ready to repeat history: They earned their Tokyo gold medal immediately after losing the first Team USA vs. Team WNBA All-Star Game back in 2021.

Breanna Stewart, who led Team USA with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday, said that the defeat "is going to help us tremendously. We don’t get that many game opportunities, [and now] we can go back and watch the film and focus on how we can continue to be better."

Today’s tilt against Germany will see the US work to lock in their defense, particularly in the paint. They'll also lean into their positional versatility before heading to Paris.

WNBA pro Satou Sabally leads Team Germany in today's pre-Olympic exhibition game against Team USA.
WNBA pro Satou Sabally helped Germany to their first-ever Olympic berth. (Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic debutants Germany enter first US clash

The exhibition marks the first-ever US-Germany linkup. The German team will make their Olympic debut in Paris after decades of failing to qualify for major international competitions. Their sixth-place 2023 EuroBasket finish sent them into February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they punched their ticket to the 2024 Games.

Leading Germany's run was two-time WNBA All-Star Satou Sabally, who put up career-high averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with Dallas last season. Her 20-point, 11-rebound double-double was the difference-maker in Germany's must-win 73-71 Olympic qualifying victory over Brazil.

Other German players to watch include 2022 NY Liberty draft-pick — and Sabally's sister — Nyara Sabally, along with Liberty sharpshooter Leonie Fiebich.

Where to watch the Team USA vs. Germany game

Today’s exhibition tips off at 3 PM ET with live coverage on FS1.

1v1 With Kelley O’Hara: USWNT Star Jaedyn Shaw Is Expecting “Dubs All Around”

retired uswnt star kelley o'hara interviewing san diego wave and uswnt forward jaedyn shaw
'1v1' is back with Jaedyn Shaw joining Kelley O'Hara for a conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

In the latest episode of Just Women's Sports' 1v1 With Kelley O'Hara, San Diego Wave and USWNT star Jaedyn Shaw joins two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O'Hara for a one-on-one conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics.

We hear from the 19-year-old Wave FC phenom about her first impressions of new USWNT coach Emma Hayes, her experience with international competition at this point in her young career, and how she's preparing to take on the 2024 Summer Games.

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The 91st: Complete USWNT & Olympic Soccer Preview Featuring Jess McDonald

Logo for JWS USWNT Olympic show The 91st
The latest season of JWS' awarding-winning Olympics show 'The 91st' premieres today. (Just Women's Sports)

We're back! Hosts Jordan Angeli, Duda Pavao, and retired USWNT forward Jess McDonald deliver a full preview of this year's Olympic soccer tournament in Paris.

Watch for full analysis of USWNT manager Emma Hayes's coaching style, this team's shifting identity in this new USWNT era, and a projected starting XI for the team's group stage opener against Zambia. The 91st hosts also break down all three Olympic groups — including top players and teams to track throughout the tournament — plus give their predictions for the medal rounds and individual awards.

Subscribe to Just Women's Sports on YouTube to never miss an episode.

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