San Diego Wave forward Alex Morgan, left, controls the ball...

San Diego Wave forward Alex Morgan, left, controls the ball as OL Reign defender Lauren Barnes defends during the second half of an NWSL semifinal playoff soccer match Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in San Diego. The National Women's Soccer League has a lot to be excited about heading into its 11th season. Credit: AP/Gregory Bull

HARRISON, N.J. — Alex Morgan scored in the 88th minute and the San Diego Wave won the Challenge Cup with a 1-0 victory over Gotham FC on Friday night in the National Women's Soccer League.

Morgan started the second half as a substitute. She broke the stalemate on a header off a corner kick from Savannah McCaskill, who joined the Wave in the offseason from rival Angel City.

“The ball came straight to me, so I knew that I couldn't mess it up,” Morgan said.

The Challenge Cup match pitted the winner of last season's league championship and the NWSL Shield winner. Gotham claimed the title after a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Reign, and the Wave finished with the season's best record (11-7-4). The league's regular season opens on Saturday.

The Wave had a good chance in the 33rd minute, but Gotham goalkeeper Cassie Miller got a hand on Jaedyn Shaw's shot and it popped up and away.

After winning the title, Gotham spent the offseason adding high-profile players that included Crystal Dunn from the Portland Thorns, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett from the Seattle Reign and Tierna Davidson from the Red Stars. All four are U.S. national team regulars.

Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, and Sen. Cory Booker attended the match. They were among the announced crowd of 14,241 at Red Bull Arena.

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