Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC ready to make history

The first Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC game was played in front of sellout crowd at The Banc of California Stadium.

Thanks to Claire Emslie’s late goal, Angel City prevailed 2-1 in front of 22,000 fans on July 9

Saturday, if there any late-game heroics, it will be accomplished in front of the largest single-game crowd in NWSL history.

The game is the first for Wave FC in the new Snapdragon Stadium and the club has said they have sold 32,000 tickets, expected to smash the record of 25,218 set in 2019 by the Portland Thorns. A doubleheader with the OL Reign and Seattle Sounders last year drew 27,248

“I think it is going to be high tempo, high passion,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe said Wednesday. “I think the crowd is going to create an amazing atmosphere for the players to play in, which is what every player in this league deserves week in, week out. I think we can rise to that occasion. We will get rest and recovery now, but we are very much looking forward to the rivalry.”

Adding to the atmosphere will be that both teams are still trying to find solid footing in the playoff chase.

San Diego is tied for second (31 points), while Angel City is still on the outside looking in with 26 points in seventh place. To illustrate how tight the standings are, there are just seven points separating first-place Kansas City (32) from eighth-place North Carolina (25).

Saturday’s game will end a seven-day, three-city road trip for Angel City. So far, the club has only earned one point.

“We wanted to get a win against Houston and then beat North Carolina and go into Saturday up, which of course is going to be a very fun crazy game,” Angel City defender Ali Riley said. “We’re still positive that our (playoff) destiny is in our own hands. So if we can step it up one more level against San Diego, then we can we can still finish this week road trip on a high.

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“(After the first game against San Diego), I was super happy because we won, but it’s a celebration of these two expansion teams who have created history, both with the records we’re breaking and also how well the teams have done and how many points, as expansion teams, these two teams have had. These are firsts so it’ll be a celebration.”

Following Saturday, Angel City will have three games remaining, including the last two home games against the Washington Spirit (Sept. 21) and Racing Louisville FC (Sept. 25). The regular season concludes Oct. 2 at the Chicago Red Stars.

Angel City FC at San Diego Wave FC

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego

How to watch: Paramount+