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NWSL Semifinals Preview: OL Reign (9-8-5) at San Diego Wave FC (11-7-4)

Snapdragon Stadium | San Diego, California – Sunday, November 5 at 9:30 PM ET

Players to watch:

For the second consecutive season, San Diego defender Naomi Girma was named as an NWSL MVP finalist. No other defender has ever been a finalist for the award even once. On the attacking side, forwards Alex Morgan and Jaedyn Shaw both lit up the scoresheet, with Morgan scoring seven goals to Shaw’s six goals, though Morgan also converted two penalties to Shaw’s zero. Morgan was especially potent in attack though, adding five assists, while Shaw tallied three of her own. 
Reign forward Veronica Latsko scored in the 87th minute against Angel City, the lone goal in the 1-0 victory in the club’s first round matchup. Five of the team’s 10 all-time goals in the NWSL playoffs have come in the 80thminute or later while eight of its 10 have been after the 70th minute. Latsko finished second in the team in the scoring department with five goals, while forward Bethany Balcer led the way with sixth and fellow forward Jordyn Huitema was joint-second, also with five goals to her name. 

Match facts: San Diego Wave FC hosts OL Reign in the second of the NWSL semifinals as playoff action resumes following the international break. San Diego in the 1-seed is facing the 4-seed Reign after a bye week, with the Reign defeating Angel City FC in the first round to advance. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Portland and Gotham matchup played earlier in the evening.
The Wave secured the NWSL Shield by winning five of their last seven games of the season (D1 L1), the most wins in a seven-game span in the regular season in club history. San Diego has also kept three straight clean sheets, the longest streak in team history across all competitions. 
In the 1-0 victory over Angel City to start the playoffs, the Reign allowed an expected goals value of just 0.18. That figure was the lowest xG allowed by any NWSL team in any game this season in all competitions.
OL Reign has also never lost to the Wave across all competitions (W6 D2) and has won all four games against San Diego this season. No NWSL team has ever won five games in all competitions against another team in a single calendar year.
Now, San Diego is in the playoffs for the second consecutive season after defeating Chicago, 2-1, before losing to Portland, 2-1, in 2022. The Wave are looking to join the North Carolina Courage as the only teams in league history to have a playoff win in each of their first two seasons as an NWSL team. 

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