CHAMPIONSHIP FOR SAN DIEGO. Wave players wearing victory T-shirts celebrate winning the 2023 NWSL regular season in only its second year in the league.
San Diego Champions at Last; Wave Wins NWSL Shield in Just 2nd Year: No. 1 in Regular Season
GUEST BLOG / By Chris Stone, Times of San Diego news blog. The San Diego Wave won the National Women’s Soccer League Shield yesterday after goals by Alex Morgan and Jaedyn Shaw gave the second-year club a 2-0 win over Racing Louisville at Snapdragon Stadium. The victory marks one of the first championships involving a San Diego pro team in ages.
For San Diego to earn the shield as the club with the best regular-season record, Angel City had to get a win or draw against the Portland Thorns Sunday. Angel City won 5-1.
Topping this year’s table with an 11-7-4 record, the Wave enters the 2023 NWSL Playoffs with the No. 1 overall seed.
This year marks the second consecutive season in which the NWSL Shield winner was decided in the final weekend of play.
The Wave will face the winner of a playoff match between Seattle’s OL Reign and Angel City.
Morgan scored seven goals this season. Sophia Smith with the Portland Thorns leads the league with 11 goals. Shaw, 18 years old, scored her sixth goal of the season.
Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan recorded a league-leading ninth clean sheet before an announced crowd of 30,312. Shaw tallied her sixth goal of the season in the 26th minute. The scoring play began when forward Morgan hit a through ball to Shaw, who took a touch around her defender to slot the ball to the back of the net.
With the goal, the second-year forward set a new league record for career regular-season goals scored by a teenager with her ninth career goal. The Wave immediately went on the attack to start the second-half as Morgan scored less than 90 seconds in.
Defender Madison Pogarch played Morgan, who turned and hit a perfectly struck left-footed shot to double the Wave’s lead and tally her 60th career NWSL goal.
“Congratulations to San Diego Wave FC on this remarkable achievement,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “The 2023 regular season featured one of the tightest tables in league history, a testament to the unmatched parity that exists within the NWSL, and I commend the Wave for the grit, determination and skill they showed in their quest to win the regular season title in this incredibly competitive year.” “
Sarah Lane, chief marketing officer at CarMax, said: “We are honored to present this year’s NWSL Shield to the San Diego Wave. “The race for the NWSL Shield was incredibly tight and fun to watch this year. We couldn’t be happier to recognize the Wave for their hard work this season. The teams in this league continue to push the degree of excellence and CarMax is proud to continue supporting the league and its players through our partnership and as title sponsor of the NWSL Shield.”
By earning a point in last Saturday’s draw against North Carolina, San Diego Wave FC clinched a top-two seed, securing a first-round bye and home-field advantage for a semifinal matchup on November 5.