The Wave is thrilled to have Korniek in Portland’s playoff game
It’s great for Wave that Alex Morgan is back from a knee injury playoff opener last weekendscored a big goal and has been practicing this week ahead of Sunday’s National Women’s Soccer League semifinal game in Portland.
When it comes to Portland, though, Morgan’s resurgence doesn’t overshadow the return of quarterback Taylor Korniek last week.
“Taylor seems to be playing really well against Portland,” Wave coach Casey Stoney said. “This is a team she enjoys playing against. I look forward to seeing her perform again this week.”
Karnick, who had an assist in last week’s 2-1 win, played 102 minutes in her first game since missing the season finale with a sprained ankle. Morgan broke a 1-1 tie in her 117-minute performance as the Wave beat Chicago in overtime.
Stoney felt her team was in “good shape” heading into Sunday’s contest at 2:00 p.m. (CBSSN).
Portland would prefer that Karnik miss the team flight.
Her two goals rallied the Wave to a tie in June. In the second leg, she headed home Morgan in a 2-0 away win.
Karnets has troubled most opponents, including the national team this summer. She’s wide-ranging, physical and, at 6-foot-1, taller than most. Second in goals and assists with three of each, she matched several other Wave successes with steals and assists.
Opponents, trying to prevent her from hitting her head, allocated two or even three defenders to her. She said learning from Morgan as a teammate and occasional back-up during two seasons in the NWSL — and as part of the U.S. national team — has provided an important mental boost.
You can see the 23-year-old Korneck at next year’s World Cup.
“She’s so hard to play against,” Stoney said, “because she’s got incredible feet and vision and can link up with Alex really well, but she’s also a threat in the air. She is an incredible player. So she gives the defense and the midfield real problems.”
Portland (10-3 with nine ties) finished second in the 12-team NWSL and first in goals, but after fumbling for the regular-season title, allowed last-place Gotham three goals in its final.
The win sends San Diego (12-6, six ties) to Washington, D.C., for the NWSL Championship on Oct. 29 (5 p.m., CBS).
“It may seem like an incredible journey for a first-year club to reach the semifinals,” said team president Jill Ellis, who won two World Cup trophies while coaching the U.S. team and hired Stoney, “but the strength of my shared belief and commitment made this journey possible.” Together, our players, fans and staff have led us to another milestone and we couldn’t be more proud to be competing and supporting the team this Sunday.”
The Portland kickoff comes two-plus hours after the Padres’ playoff game in Philadelphia and five hours before Loyal’s playoff game at San Diego State University, Wave officials noted.
Wearing a Wave scarf, Joe Musgrove attended Sunday’s game in Mission Valley a day after helping lead the Padres to the NL Championship Series. A cheering, pink-towel-waving crowd of 26,215 — comparable in enthusiasm to Padres crowds — broke an NWSL record for a postseason game, a month after the Wave drew the NWSL’s largest regular-season crowd (32,000).
“We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can for the city,” goaltender Kylen Sheridan said, “and Padres and Loyal are doing that, too.”