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USWNT’s Abby Dahlkemper scores in NWSL return from back surgery

Abby Dahlkemper celebrates her goal during San Diego's 2-1 win over Orlando on Friday. (Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports)

It didn’t take long for Abby Dahlkemper to make an impact in her return to the field.

Dahlkemper, who had been out of action since undergoing back surgery last October, scored on Friday in what was her third game back for the San Diego Wave. Dahlkemper scored in the seventh minute of what turned into a 2-1 win for the Wave over the Orlando Pride.

“Well that felt good!!” Dahlkemper wrote afterward on X. “Huge 3pts on the road – so proud of the team. We keep going!”

On a Wave corner kick, one of Dahlkemper teammates’ shots was blocked by a Pride defender and ricocheted off her chest. Dahlkemper promptly rocketed a right-foot shot into the top right corner of the goal.

San Diego assistant coach Louis Hunt said afterward that Dahlkemper has been a “huge breath of fresh air” since her return.

“She’s been incredible over the last few weeks or so since she was cleared to be in training,” Hunt said. “She’s been bright, she has been confident, you can see the quality oozing out of her.

“So for her to get that nice little bonus of a goal as well and helping us win is brilliant because her performance in the last two games, two 90-minute matches back-to-back, you would never have thought she’d been out for a year or so. So just showing her professionalism and showing her quality.”

San Diego returns to the pitch next Sunday on the road against Houston. The team is 8-3-6, and is second in the league in points (27) this season.