all scores

San Diego Wave coach calls out ‘ridiculous’ NWSL schedule crunch

Wave coach Casey Stoney took issue with the NWSL's post-international break schedule. (Amy Kontras/USA TODAY Sports)

San Diego Wave coach Casey Stoney took issue with the packed NWSL schedule in the wake of her team’s 1-0 loss to OL Reign on Saturday.

This weekend, the league returned from an international break. On Wednesday, the Challenge Cup will kick off, with 10 teams playing their first games of the tournament. And next weekend will bring another round of regular-season matches.

While Stoney would like to make adjustments with her squad, the quick turnaround will make that difficult.

“We ain’t got a lot of time to work on anything in practice this week because the league, joyfully, off the back of an international window, put three games week in, which is ridiculous,” Stoney said sarcastically.

The Wave will face the Portland Thorns at 10 p.m. ET Wednesday, followed by in-state rivals Angel City FC at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.

Coaches of all three teams — San Diego, Portland and Angel City — also discussed the importance and the difficulty of load management coming off the international window and heading into the NWSL schedule crunch.

Canada women’s national team captain Christine Sinclair ended up missing the Thorns’ match Friday against the Houston Dash, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Delayed flights scrambled Sinclair’s travel back from her national team duties, and she arrived in Portland on Thursday evening, coach Mike Norris said.

Norris called the situation “very unfortunate, but frustrating as well.” Still, Sinclair’s health came first in the decision to rest her for the match.

“I think if you look at player safety, it was the right thing to do,” he said. “Could we have dressed her? Could we have used her? Maybe? But yeah, we took the decision what we felt was right, her safety and what’s coming ahead.”

Angel City rookie Alyssa Thompson played a full 90 minutes last Tuesday for the U.S. women’s national team, which came as a surprise to her NWSL coach Freya Coombe. Thompson had joined the USWNT as a late addition in the international window after an injury to Mallory Swanson.

“Obviously she had a mini adventure previously in the week, which was fantastic for her. We’re very supportive of that,” Coombe said. “It was important for us to manage her minutes coming back in because she had a journey and played the 90-plus minutes for the USWNT. She’s always looking dangerous when she comes in.”

NWSL Challenge Cup schedule: April 19

  • Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage, 7 p.m. ET
  • Gotham FC vs. Washington Spirit, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Houston Dash vs. Kansas City Current, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Angel City FC vs. OL Reign, 10 p.m. ET
  • San Diego Wave vs. Portland Thorns, 10 p.m. ET
  • BYE: Chicago Red Stars, Racing Louisville