San Diego Wave FC may face Chicago Red Stars without Morgan in first playoff match
The San Diego Padres aren't the only team hosting a playoff game at home this weekend. The San Diego Wave Fútbol Club is also hosting one.
With its third-place finish in the National Women's Soccer League, the Wave will host the quarterfinal playoff match against the Chicago Red Stars at Snapdragon Stadium. The team projects a sell-out crowd.
This is the club's first postseason, and the first time an NWSL expansion team made it into the playoffs in its inaugural season.
"Obviously, a massively exciting opportunity for us as a club — our first-ever season to be in the playoffs is a huge achievement for the club, the players and the staff," Wave FC coach Casey Stoney said. "It’s exciting and something different for me."
The Wave clinched its playoff berth on Sept. 25, coming back from a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 draw on the road against the Orlando Pride. The team capped off its regular season with a draw against the North Carolina Courage, finishing third in the league to secure a home quarterfinal playoff match.
"This is a huge accomplishment for the club to be able to make the playoffs for the first time in our first year," striker Alex Morgan said. "I’m really excited for Sunday, and I’m hearing that we’re pushing towards a sellout, so I think this city and community has really rallied behind us, and it’s great to really represent this club."
Morgan, who won the Golden Boot this season, however, might not make it on the pitch because of a recent injury. She's the team's lead scorer. Midfielder Taylor Kornieck is also questionable for this weekend's match, and defender Abby Dahlkemper will not be playing due to an injury.
"To be honest, when it comes to Alex and Taylor, at the moment, it’s still very, very questionable," Stoney said. "Both of them have been seriously injured, so we are still working day-by-day at the moment."
The matchup against Chicago will be a tough one as the club seeks to keep its historic season alive, but Stoney is confident in the team's ability to push through.
"They have the No. 1 American goalkeeper. In terms of their roster, they are very strong," she said. "We know we are going to have to be defensively very good. We also know that we can score goals against them because we have.”
First kick is at 7 p.m. The game will be available on CBS SN and internationally on Twitch.