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 Angel City FC

Angel City Football Club Earns Third Victory in the Last Four Matches on the Road in Utah

May 4, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Angel City FC News Release


SALT LAKE CITY - Angel City Football Club (ACFC) earned its third win in the last four matches and second on the road in a 2-1 victory over the Utah Royals FC with goals from forwards Sydney Leroux and Claire Emslie. Royals midfielder Dana Foederer scored the only goal for the home club.

The first match in NWSL history between ACFC and the Royals got off to an intense start, as they were both able to create opportunities, but were unable to convert due to relentless defense on both ends. In the seventh minute, forward Ally Sentnor of the Royals sent a darting ball from right outside the middle of the box, but was deflected by ACFC goalkeeper DiDi Haračić, who made two key saves in the first 10 minutes of the match. The other coming from another on-target shot by Royals midfielder Amandine Henry, who tried to chip in from point blank range.

On the other hand, ACFC was able to possess the ball 65.6 percent over the opening 15 minutes of the match. In the 29th minute, forward Alyssa Thompson attacked the left side of the pitch in the Royals' final third, getting position in the box before lobbing the perfect pass to Leroux, who finished with an impressive header to give Angel City the 1-0 lead.

ACFC would keep momentum moving forward in the 38th minute when forward Alyssa Thompson forced a foul in the box, giving forward Emslie leverage to notch her third consecutive goal in the last three matches and second penalty kick of the season, shooting the ball in the right upper 90 of the goal. Emslie is also second in the NWSL Golden Boot race behind Portland Thorns Sophia Smith.

ACFC's defense would hold on to the 2-0 lead heading into halftime, stopping the Royals from scoring a first-half goal, which they've done in five of their seven games this season.

The Royals entered the second half with a vengeance. Foederer was able to put them on the board after Sentnor shot an accurate pass in the box, giving Foederer the perfect opportunity to nail the shot and cut the lead down to 2-1 in the 56th minute.

Haračić would continue motivating ACFC's defensive efforts with two clutch saves, stretching out to grab what could've been the equalizer with on target shots from both Sentnor and Henry.

ACFC was able to create another opportunity after rookie defender Gisele Thompson forced a corner kick in the 90th minute, but the club could not convert. Defensively, Angel City was able to hold off the Royals with grit and determination after seven minutes of stoppage time was added to the clock to seal the victory.

Angel City returns to BMO Stadium next week, facing the Houston Dash on Sunday, May 12, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific. The match will stream live on NWSL+ and air on Bally Sports SoCal.

ACFC Milestones

Forward Alyssa Thompson earned her third assist of the season and fifth of her career. Now one behind Claire Emslie for the club record. She also currently leads the NWSL in assists this season.

Forward Sydney Leroux earned her 43rd regular season goal, moving her into a tie with Carli Lloyd for 10th in league history.

Angel City have scored in their last six NWSL games.

Forward Claire Emslie is first LA player ever to score in 3 consecutive regular season games.

Angel City have held opponents scoreless in the first half in five of their seven matches this season.

POST-MATCH QUOTES

ACFC Goalkeeper DiDi Haračić

On the gutsy win:

"It is always difficult playing on the road. I thought we handled it well. Our composure was there and that is the biggest thing. On set pieces you could see the fans were getting into it, the team was getting into it and we kept our heads. We tried not to let the momentum go into their hands as much."

On the amount of Utah set pieces and the conversations with the defense:

"We trust our structure. I think that's the main thing. Find a structure and hold on to it. But my biggest thing is first contact and composure. We have to keep our heads in these moments because in the NWSL, games are one off set pieces at times. So I'm just proud of the group. Composure, like I said, was the biggest one for tonight."

On the atmosphere in Utah:

"It is awesome to have Utah back in our league. The fact that the league continues to grow. I know they had a great turnout and it is always fun to play in different stadiums, but there is nothing like BMO [Stadium]."

On her impressive saves in the 74th minute:

"In training we train that. It's called building habits. I would love to hold that, but it is coming through traffic. My best thought and idea was parry it wide, and get up as quickly as possible, so it is just building habits in training."

ACFC Forward Sydney Leroux:

On the first ACFC goal:

"We are just trying to build connections and good habits. I think the first 25 minutes was a tough situation for us. We came together around the 25th minute and said 'we need to do what we know we can do, and that's Alyssa one-v-one. I was able to get in the box and get a good header off and we scored."

On Haracic's performance:

"I just want to say I think DiDi stood on her head for us tonight. I'm so proud of her."

Overall thoughts on the match:

"We did what we needed to do. It wasn't a pretty game, at all. Sometimes that is what the NWSL is--ugly games that you just fight until the end, and that's what we did. We're really proud of ourselves. Three wins out of four games is really good. I think our best game, or at least 60 minutes of it, was the game we lost. So I think that says a lot about us and we need to build off of that."

"It was just a tough game to play in. It was dirty and it was chippy and we're just happy to walk away with three points."

On the atmosphere in Utah:

"It's amazing that we have so many fans that travel. There are so many die hard fans of Angel City. We really appreciate them coming all this way. It's so great."

ACFC Head Coach Becki Tweed

Overall thoughts on tonight's match:

"I don't think it was our best performance. We had a couple of really good spells in the first half that ultimately led to chances. The chances we did have we took, but there were not enough.

"Three points when you don't play particularly well is also huge. The craziest part is, if I look back at the last four games, and we've won three out of the last four, the game that we maybe played the best football in we lost. That just to me sums up football in general."

"We were scrappy in and around the box and we had some moments where we did have to defend a lot. The second half was just a broken up game with a lot of fouls, a lot of free kicks, and a lot of long balls from both teams. It just became a gritty game that we had to buy our way through."

On DiDi's performance tonight:

"She made some brilliant saves, but we'll look at it again. We don't want to give away those opportunities. Keeping DiDi sharp and her being able to perform like that is ultimately really important for this team. We're disappointed to not come away with a clean sheet. That's something that we always strive for, especially on the road."

"That's where we've got to grow is when the game does become like that, how do we settle it down? How do we continue to play? That again, takes time, takes maturity, takes a little bit of putting yourself under pressure, which we did too much of. Overall, DiDi was brilliant tonight."

On the club's current momentum, winning the last three out of four matches:

"When you look at this league and how close it is when you come off the back of a good performance, but a defeat, you have to find a way to bounce back and pull each other through. We came away from the Kansas City loss felt like it was a Cup final. It really did because the team and myself felt for 60 minutes, we performed and that just wasn't enough last week."

"To bounce back from that with a completely opposite performance, a scrappy gritty performance and to come away from home with three points is really big. It builds momentum. This league is about momentum and it's about picking up points on the road. When you pick up points despite a performance, you have to take the positives from that."


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