San Diego Wave FC opened their 2023 NWSL campaign in dramatic fashion as they score an 89th penalty to secure a 3-2 win over Chicago Red Stars in front of a record 30,854 sell-out crowd at the Snapdragon Stadium on Saturday evening.

The hosts fell behind in the 18th minute when Red Stars midfielder Yuki Nagasato scored from close range to give the visitors the lead. Four minutes later, Amirah Ali restored parity with an instinctive header.

Young talent gives Wave the lead

San Diego Wave then took the lead in the 32nd minute following a corner from striker Jaedyn Shaw’s effort.

The 18-year-old controlled the ball on the top of the box before taking a touch and driving her shot into the back of the net to complete the turnaround for the hosts.

Red Stars, however, were unwilling to let their heads drop and equalized deep inside the first-half stoppage time.

Mallory Swanson stepped up to take the spot kick as both sides went into the whistle with the game finely handing in the balance at two apiece.

Dramatic finish

The visitors created several goalscoring opportunities, but San Diego keeper Kailen Sheridan came up with an inspired performance to keep the scores level.

With the game heading towards a draw, the hosts were given a penalty with just a minute left to play. Alex Morgan stepped up to convert the spot kick and give her side a 3-2 win in front of the packed home crowd.

The sell-out crowd now holds the record for the largest attendance in NWSL history surpassing the 23,403 attendance from April 2016 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando Pride’s inaugural match.

Wave have now two of their two season openers with both being home games. They will be at home for their next game on April 1st as they host North Carolina Courage in the league.

Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire