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 Angel City FC

Angel City Football Club Falls to Houston in Final Seconds

May 12, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Angel City FC News Release

LOS ANGELES - Angel City Football Club (ACFC) fell short with a 0-1 loss tonight against the Houston Dash following a late goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time from Dash defender Paige Nielsen.

The match at BMO Stadium got off to a chippy start with Houston compiling six fouls and two yellow cards within the first 20 minutes of play. In the 13th minute, ACFC earned the first opportunity to score when Claire Emslie played a free kick into the box for a diving header from Sydney Leroux that just missed outside of the right corner of the goal.

The Dash created a chance in the 25th minute when midfielder Avery Patterson sent a cross to the left side of the box to forward Ramona Bachmann who almost nailed a shot from point blank range that went vertical over the top of the goal.

Forward Alyssa Thompson created another opportunity for ACFC in the 32nd minute after dribbling past defenders in the box for a shot that was blocked, resulting in a corner kick.

The first half would end tied 0-0, with ACFC possessing the ball for 58.8% of the first 45 minutes, earning a 82.8% passing accuracy rate, and outshooting Houston seven shots to their two.

In the beginning of the second half, Houston was able to produce two shots inside the box that were defended well by ACFC's backline. The first one came in the 50th minute as Puntigam got an opportunity but shot it wide of the right side of the goal, while forward Diana Ordóñez got the second chance in the 56th minute that was blocked by several ACFC defenders.

Another chance for Angel City came in the 72nd minute when defender Jasmyne Spencer forced a cross in the box to Leroux who put just a little too much power on the shot to put the club ahead of the Dash.

ACFC's defense stepped up by not allowing the Dash to create a shot for over 20 minutes as the clock dwindled down, keeping both teams scoreless. Offensively, ACFC took six total shots in the second half leading up to stoppage time, but was only able to convert one on target shot.

The last 10 minutes was full of opportunities from both sides, with ACFC getting several of them, but was unable to get a shot inside the box. In the 99th minute Nielsen scored the game winning goal of the match to shock ACFC.

Angel City are on the road next week, facing the Washington Spirit on Saturday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific. The match will stream live on ION.

ACFC Milestones

Angel City have stopped the opposition from scoring a first-half goal in 6 of their 8 games, only the Orlando Pride (7) have done this more often in the NWSL this season.


ACFC Defender Sarah Gorden

On leading every category and not getting the result:

"We spoke about it in the huddle after the game that it would have been a totally different game if we put away our chances earlier. The game became really transitional throughout the entire 90. That kind of got the best of us, but it's disappointing."

"There are so many things that you could pick out and critique and when I look at the goal on the set piece, I'm the one that played a diagonal ball that led to a transition. If I kicked it out, we could have been in a different spot. I have to take accountability for the things that I did that led to the corner, but I just think that could have, should have, would have."

"We go back to practice this week. We've been really focused on breaking the first line and having possession, breaking out of our half. Maybe we'll go back to the drawing board and work more on holding the ball higher up the field."

On the game plan defensively:

"We know that they've had multiple games in the last week or two and obviously we're at home, they're away from home. We did want to press them and put them under pressure, so that was our game plan. We didn't get the job done. The mindset is somehow we put this in the back and focus going forward."

"It's a really tough way to lose at home in the last minute, in a lot of ways. When we talk about things like this, it's pretty unacceptable. It's the second time that it's happened to us this year off of a set piece at the end of the game. We have some work to do as a group."

ACFC Midfielder Rocky Rodriguez

On tonight's results:

"We were at home, we wanted to win, and we shot for a win. It's really disappointing to lose a game like that at literally the last minute. We have to accept our mistakes. We may have lost track of the little details."

"Although when you're there, you look at each other saying, let's focus. This is us, it's not that we don't pay attention to details, but this is just something that we need to learn from and be humble enough. Once the game is over, you feel like it's the worst thing and then you go back with a cold mind and you watch. It's not as bad or as good as you feel it is right after the game. It just sucks and it hurts. I hate the way that we lost."

On how the club can fix things moving forward:

"I wish soccer was math. In Utah, it wasn't our best game. We won, but we didn't have many chances and we were not effective and that was our forwards today. Maybe we played a better game but didn't come through. I think what the fans see is that my transition was seamless, but actually there were a lot of minutes spent in training with a lot of help from the staff and my teammates."

"Actually today we finally got down that build up that in other games, but not necessarily. There's nothing that together we can't achieve. We wish that we could have a great start in the season, but look at Gotham last year. They came from low on the table and then they ended up champions. It's something that we need to work on, different games and expose different things."

"Like I said earlier, maybe we need to watch it with a little bit of a cold head, and just take a day or two off, watch it back, and then be a little more objective. Whatever it is that the coaches want to work on, we will get on board. There's nothing that union between the players and work cannot achieve."

"If Sarah and I look good, it's because of the team. We have their support, and some games, this is a team sport. Some games, some players look better than others. At the end of the day, it's Angel City who lost and its details. We want to win for the fans, for the club, for us and we will get there."

ACFC Head Coach Becki Tweed

On the overall performance:

"Honestly, the moments at the end matter, but I think the 96 minutes leading up to that are the more relevant part...ultimately, the 96 minutes that we had, we can't feel sorry for ourselves. That last minute, it hurts, and sometimes football is cruel, but that 96 minutes before it, are a space that we have to get better in."

"It was just one of those games where we didn't create enough [chances] and we weren't dangerous enough in the final third. We had 13 shots apparently, and I don't know where they came from. We had some good build up moments, but that's not enough to win games."

"Quality inside the final third, deliveries, runs, committing numbers into the box. It's not even about being ruthless, it's about creating your own opportunities. We didn't make Houston work hard enough in their defensive third. We had some good moments and build up. We played some good football, but it doesn't matter if you don't do anything with it."

"We had a bit of a gutsy defensive performance. We talk a lot about our shape behind the ball and not getting hurt in transition. That includes giving away a corner and the 97th Minute. Our shape behind the ball wasn't good enough. We give up a corner and now we unnecessarily have to defend with the last kick of the game. That's football, it punishes you when you don't do the little things right."

On how to improve in the final third:

"You've got to look at it as a bit of a process. This game is not forgiving with processes.

You can't work on the final third until you nail the build in the middle third, and we can start to see our identity in that build piece."

"Right now, and so far this season, we've relied on individual qualities, brilliance, and moments in the box and now we should flip that into making what has been the first two thirds and improvement into the final third. That is the hardest part of the game. Sometimes you win games with individual brilliance and individual moments."

"There is a process behind it and you can't go into training on day one and say let's work on the attacking third if you can't even get the ball. We do have to take the positives of the first two thirds of the field, it is the hardest part, but it's a place that we've got to spend a lot of time on. Once you get into the season, it is unforgiving and you barely get to train."

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