nwsl

Makenzy Doniak ends Pride’s historic win streak

The San Diego Wave clinches a crucial point in 1-1 draw at home bringing the Orlando Pride's 8-consecutive wins streak to an end.

The San Diego Wave took on the Orlando Pride on Friday night as the international break finished this week. Makenzy Doniak’s acrobatic goal in the 62nd minute led the Wave to their fourth draw so far. 

Doniak’s second-half equalizer came after midfielder María Sánchez ran up the left side, creating space to shoot an in-swinging cross. The cross was swatted away by Orlando goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse. The ball rebounded, finding the foot of Doniak who found the back of the net putting San Diego on the scoreboard.

“As a forward I always want to be hungry around the goal. It’s just a good performance overall and individually, I’m glad I got that, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

San Diego Wave Forward Makenzy Doniak

It was the perfect response to the Pride’s strong counterattack goal in the 36th minute by Julie Doyle and forward Barbra Banda. World-class Banda shot past Naomi Girma after a 20-yard drive and manufactured a cross to Doyle. Doyle redirected the ball past the reach of Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. 

The lone goal marked Doniak’s third goal contribution and provided insight into the team’s progress throughout the game. Her performance earned her the Impact Player of the Match and cheers from 17,073 fans.

San Diego held on to the majority of possession in the first half (65%-35%) and had advantages in shots on target (6-3) and passing accuracy (86%-74%). They failed to find the back of the net and capitalize off spaces.

Progress for the Wave is visible

Midfielder Mya Jones made her sixth start in her rookie season and had a large impact in the first half. Setting up a scoring chance, she won three of six take-ons as well as all four tackles. She was instrumental in moving the ball towards the attacking third and creating chances.

Although she struggled to keep width, she found a groove, creating space for players like Sánchez and Savannah McCaskill to drive up. Midfielder Dani Colaprico also had a good opportunity during first-half stoppage time but her attempt was too high.

San Diego played heavily on the right side, a tactic that provided chances but also limited their ability to efficiently score past Orlando’s backline. In the second half, the momentum changed and the Wave became visibly more energized and efficient after Doniak’s goal. Friday’s San Diego team showed improvement from previous matches. Head Coach Casey Stoney spoke on improvements in the team’s performance. 

“We played excellently. I think it’s the final thirds where we’re not executing real neatly. We had good moments, we’ve got into good spaces, in a deeper touch or decisions or final actions…I thought we were a better team tonight” she said.

San Diego Wave F.C. Head Coach Casey Stoney

The Wave is still struggling to finish and connect crucial passes to players such as Jaedyn Shaw, Alex Morgan, and Sánchez. Morgan made her first start since her ankle injury on April 19th which was the last time the teams played each other. The Pride proved more effective in transitions, exploiting choppy passes from the Wave and maintaining a high line of press. 

Once again Kailen Sheridan shined as a world-class keeper making five saves including her 500th NWSL career save in the 33rd minute. She is the youngest of three goalkeepers, Ashlyn Harris and Alyssa Naeher to reach the milestone. 

Friday’s game was the second 1-1 match in a row for the Wave. They’d tied Angel City F.C. before the international window. Orlando (8-0-4) remains undefeated on top of the league’s table with 28 points. San Diego (3-4-4) is 9th  with 13 points, just below the final NWSL playoffs qualifying spot. The Wave will take on the Washington Spirit on June 15th at Audi Field in Washington D.C. There, they look to earn a spot in the playoffs with 15 games left this season.