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 Angel City FC

Angel City Football Club Falls on the Road to NJ/NY Gotham FC

June 8, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Angel City FC News Release


HARRISON, NJ - Angel City FC fell 1-2 on the road to Gotham FC following an ACFC goal by midfielder Clarisse Le Bihan and goals for Gotham by midfielders Crystal Dunn and Rose Lavelle.

The visitors dominated possession over the first 10 minutes of the game, though neither team had any real chances early on. That changed in the 12th minute when Gotham defender Jenna Nighswonger took a crack from just outside the 18; Angel City keeper DiDi Haračić dove, but no save was necessary, as the ball went just wide of the right post.

Gotham had another look in the 18th minute when defender Mandy Freeman sent a cross into Lavelle in the penalty area on a transition play; Haračić came off her line to block Lavelle's shot at the edge of the six-yard box.

New Jersey continued to push and finally broke through in the 26th minute when midfielder Yazmeen Ryan played a diagonal ball in for Dunn at the top of the box. Dunn beat her mark and sent a low shot to the far post, which Haračić got a hand on but wasn't able to stop. The ball rolled over the goal line to bring the score to 1-0.

Angel City had a good look in the 38th minute when midfielder Rocky Rodríguez stripped the ball off a Gotham midfielder and sent a long diagonal pass to forward Claire Emslie on the right wing. Emslie's cross was initially blocked by Freeman, falling to the top of the 18. ACFC midfielder Lily Nabet made a late run and put a shot on frame, which Gotham keeper Ann-Katrin Berger narrowly blocked.

In the 42nd minute, defender Megan Reid had a clutch defensive play when Lavelle ran onto a long ball into the box from midfielder Delanie Sheehan and hit a shot/cross from just outside the six; Reid recovered to block the ball out for a corner kick just in time.

Angel City had their final chance of the half late in stoppage time when Rodríguez found defender M.A. Vignola as she made a run up the left wing. Vignola dribbled into the area and took an angled shot, but Berger went to ground and stuck her leg out to make the stop.

ACFC started the second half strong with a chance in the 47th minute. Le Bihan forced a turnover and played a through ball in for forward Alyssa Thompson; Thompson continued her run and shot from the corner of the six-yard box, but Berger again made the save.

In the 51st minute, LA equalized. Le Bihan sent a lofted ball into the box intended for forward Sydney Leroux, who dragged two defenders with her as she made a run. The forward ultimately didn't touch the ball, which sailed into the space she had opened up, past Berger, and into the side netting.

The hosts didn't wait long to return the favor. In the 62nd minute, Lavelle and Sheehan combined inside the penalty area to set Lavelle up with a close-range shot, which she placed inside the near post and into the back of the net.

Angel City had another near miss in the 79th minute when forward Jasmyne Spencer dropped the ball back to midfielder Madison Hammond near the penalty arc. Hammond found defender Merritt Mathias making a run to her left; Mathias put her near-post shot on target, but Berger dove to save.

Angel City is on the road again next Saturday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m. Pacific against the Houston Dash. That game will be broadcast on ION and iHeart.

ACFC Milestones

Forward Claire Emslie and Midfielder Madison Hammond both played in their 50th career NWSL regular season match appearance.

Midfielder Clarisse Le Bihan scored her second career NWSL regular season goal.

Forward Alyssa Thompson earned her fourth assist of the season making it her sixth career NWSL regular season assist.

POST-MATCH QUOTES

ACFC Defender Megan Reid

Overall thoughts on the match:

"We started off a little slow or at least our first ten minutes were good. We possessed, but we strayed from our game plan a little bit. It showed that when we did do our game plan, we put them under massive amounts of pressure. We had the opportunities to win the game and the ability to cut down on their amount of shots on goal and their goals overall.

"A little disappointed in the result, but at the end of the day we just have to keep our heads down and keep pushing forward."

On what the club can do better tactically to prevent goals like today:

"It's just tracking your runner and just knowing when you play a team like this, as soon as players pass, they're going to move and you have to get your body in between where they want to go and where the ball would meet them. Additionally, if we clear the ball earlier, then this sustained pressure on us isn't even a problem in that situation and it doesn't even arise."

On the mindset of the team:

"This team believes in one another. We know that when we're at our best, we're one of the best teams in this league. That goes to say that this league is one of the best in the world, if not the best in the world.

"If you can't put the pieces together offensively and defensively, it's going to be very hard to win and sometimes you just have to have gritty wins. Right now we're making one or two mistakes that unfortunately, are making it hard for us to come back and win. We were in a similar position last year and everyone believes that we can get to where we want to be."

ACFC Midfielder Clarisse Le Bihan

Overall thoughts on the match:

"We are frustrated because obviously we came to win the game. It's frustrating because we always finish the games thinking that the goals we consider are easy to fix. We need a good game, a good performance. We need to get back to winning and standing in a better position."

"It's hard to describe how I feel, but we can do better. We got opportunities, of course they got opportunities too, but we can do better than that and we are trying to stay optimistic. We have a lot of games coming and next weekend we have to win. There is no other choice."

On what the team's needs to do to get back to winning:

"We have good players and we need to follow the strategy and plan of the game. We need a good performance because the problem right now is we got moments during games but we are not consistent enough during a full 90 minutes. The objective for us is to have a big performance from the first minute to the extra time in the second half."

"As I said before we need to win games, even if it's ugly. Right now we just need points and we are honestly really optimistic because we have quality. We are working hard every day and waiting for the game that is going to be a turning point for us last year. We are expecting better from ourselves."

On her goal:

"If I'm being honest, it was a cross. We were having a good moment. We were pressing really high and they were losing a lot of balls. I received the ball from Alyssa [Thompson] and I saw Sydney [Leroux] doing a call between the two center backs. I tried to give her a good ball in behind with my left foot. That was a nice place for us."

ACFC Head Coach Becki Tweed

Overall thoughts on the match:

"I think for portions of the game, we controlled a decent amount. I think Berger made a couple of really good saves and DiDi had good saves for us. There are those momentum changing saves and moments."

"I saw it every week, but I am going to say it again. It's the one percent or half a second that you switch off. This league is too good. It's too good to switch off for any moment. We had a couple of moments where we did switch off and we got punished for it. That is what happened."

"Again, we know it is our responsibility. I don't think we got outplayed. We weren't in a space where I felt we needed to change a crazy amount. We just needed to take more opportunities and be a little bit tighter and focused at the other end as well.

"These are just some non-negotiables that we will talk about as a group that when you lapse a little bit, good players will punish you. Like if you give Rose Lavelle time in the box, she's gonna punish you."

On how to get back to the grit of last season:

"It's season defining moments that you've got to find, celebrate, recognize and you've got to pull momentum with you. This league is based on momentum. The message today that we just talked about is we've got to look at ourselves.

"We don't have to make a decision. There is no decision. We have to stay confident, stay focused. We have to make sure that these lapses don't continue to happen because I'm saying it every week, there's no excuse for them. We don't have an excuse."

On the substitutions:

"Yeah, I think I have to watch it and I think the change when you're chasing a game, you ask Messiah to stay as close to the goal as possible. I think she created a couple of opportunities in and around the box. I think Meritt came in and had that leadership quality that she brings and that experience that she brings, but ultimately, we didn't score."

"I think that putting Kennedy at 2-1 down as a 17-year-old shows how much trust and belief that we have in her as well as a player. I think all three subs in that moment kept our momentum going. We just couldn't find enough to ultimately create more or challenge more in the end."


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