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Another loss on the road: San Diego Wave FC falls to Bay FC 2-1

The San Diego Wave FC lost to the expansion Bay FC 2-1 at PayPal Stadium on Friday night, conceding two goals after leading throughout the first half.

The San Diego Wave FC lost to the expansion Bay FC 2-1 at PayPal Stadium on Friday night, conceding two goals after leading throughout the first half.

The Wave (3-4-2), which previously won against Bay FC 2-1 at Snapdragon Stadium in April, suffered their second defeat in five games. It ended Bay FC’s (3-7-0) five game losing streak.

This loss might also cost the Wave a chance at the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs with 17 games left in the regular season. The top eight of the 14 teams advance and San Diego sits eighth is the No. 8 seed.

What started as a relatively calm game quickly turned away from the Wave as they struggled to maintain their 1-0 lead in the second half. San Diego had started strong, dominating possession and setting the tone for both teams as they showed a difficult-to-break defense that kept Bay without a shot on goal.

The Wave’s first goal came in the 23rd minute by Kyra Carusa, who shot the ball past defenders off an in-swinging corner kick from Savannah McCaskill. It was Carusa’s second goal of the season and McCaskill’s second assist in two games.

This first half looked vastly different from the Wave’s previous game against Gotham where they struggled to gain momentum and effectively utilize their possession. Here they created chance after chance for midfielders and attackers to make something happen.

Players such as rookie Kennedy Wesley and Danielle Colaprico were essentially in connecting passes and getting the ball up the pitch towards attackers, helping establish a strong momentum and create opportunities for San Diego through wide channels. 

Colaprico covered key ground from side to side, putting herself in positions to defend the box and give the Wave significant counterattack opportunities.

There was a clear shift in how Bay FC played in the second half. There were fewer scoring opportunities for San Diego as they struggled to break through the pressure and left far too many gaps for Bay players to take advantage of. 

The tying goal came 10 minutes into the second half when Kiki Pickett made her way dribbling into the box before she found Scarlett Camberos to her left. She slid the ball into the right corner — Bay’s first shot on goal — and past goalkeeper Kalien Sheridan.

Bay FC continued to suffocate San Diego’s chances and apply intense pressure to their backline. The Wave wasn’t able to keep up with the switch and allowed too much space to Bay midfielder Kiki Pickett, allowing her to set up two goals with a powerful dribble drive. Pickett, Camberos, and Racheal Kundananji powered Bay FC’s 2-1 comeback late in the game. 

San Diego still had chances to capitalize on shots with corners and free kicks by María Sánchez who made her second start for the Wave. The game-winning goal came in the 87th minute with an own goal by Hanna Lundkvist near the goal mouth. 

The game mirrored previous on the road matches this season, highlighting the challenges the team faces. This is a stark contrast to the team last season that had a 6-3-2 record on the road.

Wave coach Casey Stoney was disappointed by the Wave’s second-half performance.

“It’s my responsibility to get results,” Stoney said. “This loss is on me.”

Stoney said both Bay goals were “preventable” and the team should’ve scored at least two goals in the first half.

“It’s not good enough,” he said. We’ve got to start scoring goals.”

Although there were fewer players sidelined, San Diego was still missing Alex Morgan, Jaedyn Shaw, and Makenzy Doniak. Also, Christen Westphal suffered an injury midway through the second half. 

The Wave’s next game is Thursday at SoCal rivals Angel City FC at BMO Stadium.