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The 5 Best Lineups in San Diego Sports: February 2024

What not to miss on the local sports scene this month
Courtesy of San Diego Mojo

Concacaf W Gold Cup Group Stage

February 21, 24, 27 | Snapdragon Stadium

In Group B of the inaugural W Gold Cup, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, and either Haiti or Puerto Rico will face off in a slate of games that affirms Snapdragon Stadium as a destination for world-class soccer. “The vision […] from the very beginning was that this facility would be a focal point for the entire San Diego community,” Snapdragon Stadium general manager Adam Millar told San Diego Magazine in November, when Concacaf announced that the city would host the first-ever W Gold Cup final. Tickets for the group stage start at $18, and that’s for seats three rows from the pitch. Grab yours before the rest of San Diego realizes some of the best soccer on the planet is happening in their backyard.

SDSU Women’s Basketball vs. Air Force

Wednesday, February 21 | 6:00 p.m. | Viejas Arena

Watch: Mountain West Network

Led by Adryana Quezada’s 15 points per game, the 14-9 SDSU women’s basketball team is having a fine season, one they hope ends next month in a deep run in the Mountain West Conference championship tournament. Before then, the Aztecs have four more home games, including their matchup against Air Force on February 21 that serves as their annual Black History Month celebration.

Women basketball players have long been at the forefront of “collective activism addressing racism, policing, gender pay equity, LGBTQ+ issues, voting, and reproductive rights,” as Shamira Ibrahim writes for Harper’s Bazaar. The Aztecs’ celebration of Black history reminds us of that struggle, but also of how Black culture and identities enrich American life and sport. 

Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Thursday, February 22 | 12:10 p.m. | Peoria Sports Complex, AZ

Yes, this matchup occurs in the middle of a weekday, and yes, by the third inning you likely won’t be familiar with a single player on the field, but the Padres’ first spring training game means baseball is officially and emphatically back. For the 2024 season, the Pads return one of baseball’s best infields, led by perennial MVP candidate Manny Machado, and Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Michael King would form a top-flight playoff rotation, but they have to get there first.

It’s the team’s depth that might hold them back. How will new manager Mike Shildt fill the Juan Soto-sized hole in the lineup? Will new relievers Woo-Suk Go, Yuki Matsui, and Wandy Peralta stabilize a thin bullpen? Who’s joining Fernando Tatis in the outfield, and who’s filling out the starting rotation? The answers will get sorted out over the team’s six weeks in Arizona, and soon we’ll be settling into the rhythms of another summer at Petco Park.

San Diego Mojo vs. Grand Rapids Rise

February 23 | 7:00 p.m. | Viejas Arena

Watch: Bally Live

Owned by beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings, the Mojo played their first match in the Pro Volleyball Federation last Thursday, a 3-0 defeat to the Atlanta Vibe, and are one of seven teams in the new league trying to capitalize on indoor volleyball’s surging popularity. Currently, it’s played more than basketball among girl high school athletes, college volleyball viewership and attendance is skyrocketing, and it’s now an Olympic sport.

After one more away match against the Vegas Thrill, the Mojo bring that excitement to their home debut on February 23. Fans even have a couple of locals to cheer for—Bonsall’s Kendra Dahlke picks up her career after playing professionally overseas from 2018 to 2022, and Carlsbad’s Morgan Lewis transitions to the pros after a standout collegiate career at the University of Oregon.

Cymbiotika San Diego Open

February 24-March 3, 2024 | Barnes Tennis Center

Before pickleball left its inventor’s yard, before the Padres had a winning season, and before top-flight soccer barely existed in the United States, San Diego was a tennis mecca. Billie Jean King, one of the most revered women athletes ever, won the first Southern California Open, now known as the San Diego Open. Fifty-three years later, the Open returns to the Barnes Tennis Center in Ocean Beach with a new sponsor. The field isn’t set yet, but as an official stop on the WTA 500 tour San Diegans will again get to watch some of the sport’s rising stars.

By Brendan Dentino

Brendan Dentino is a U.S. Navy veteran, writer, and public servant based in San Diego. He writes weekly about baseball and politics at Out in Left.

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