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Wave smash playoff attendance record hours after Dash set mark

A young San Diego Wave FC fan celebrates the team's playoff win. (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)

Just weeks after welcoming an NWSL record crowd to their first home game at Snapdragon Stadium, the San Diego Wave set another record in their first playoff game in franchise history.

The Wave welcomed 26,215 fans to their first-round match against the Chicago Red Stars, and the team put on a show, winning 2-1 in extra time on a goal off the foot of star striker Alex Morgan.

While the attendance mark for the postseason opener did not best the sellout crowd of 32,000 for the Sept. 17 stadium opener against Angel City FC, it did break the NWSL playoff record — which had been set earlier in the day by the Houston Dash.

“The atmosphere tonight was incredible,” Morgan said. “It was so much fun to play in front of our fans for one last time this season.”

While No. 3 seed San Diego hosted Sunday’s contest, the team will head on the road for its Oct. 23 semifinal against the Portland Thorns.

The Dash announced a sellout crowd of 21,284 at their own first-ever playoff match, which ended in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Current. Houston’s home attendance record stood at 13,025 before Sunday’s contest.

San Diego came out on top in front of its home crowd, and players and coaches alike basked in the cheers from their fans.

“Incredible support tonight,” coach Casey Stoney said. “I have to say, the fans were absolutely electric and they carried us for large periods of the game and I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it as a head coach.

“So I hope loads of people are booking their flights to Portland to come support us there. I know it’s not easy, but we need as much support as we can get there and we’ve got an incredible city. I’m really, really proud to now call this my home.”