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 Angel City FC

Angel City Football Club Falls to Top-of-the-Table Kansas City Current after Fast Start in First Half

April 27, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Angel City FC News Release

LOS ANGELES - Angel City lost 3-1 tonight against the league-leading Kansas City Current following a goal by midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo and a brace by forward Claire Lavogez. ACFC's goal was scored by forward Claire Emslie.

The game got off to a slow start offensively for both teams, with Angel City's defense doing well to contain a few half-chances by Kansas City. The first real chance for either team came in the 12th minute when midfielder Rocky Rodríguez sent a long diagonal ball to defender Jasmyne Spencer on the right wing. Spencer took the ball forward, cut inside, and took an angled shot that keeper AD Franch dove and deflected out over the endline.

The Current had their first real chance of the night in the 20th minute when forward Bia Zaneratto sent a cross into the six-yard box for midfielder Bayley Feist, who got her head on the ball, but sent it over the crossbar.

Angel City continued pushing, keeping Kansas City penned into their defensive third for a long stretch of play before opening the scoring in the 34th minute. Receiving the ball on the wing, forward Claire Emslie held up play for forward Alyssa Thompson's underlapping run. Thompson received the pass and tapped a short lateral ball back to Emslie as she ran into the box. Emslie beat a final defender on the dribble and fired an angled ball past Franch into the far side of the net to bring the score to 1-0.

The home team largely dominated the rest of the half, keeping the lion's share of the possession and getting another look on goal in the 40th minute. A flurry of activity by Kansas City in the last five minutes of the half, including a shot on target by Bia that saw keeper DiDi Haračić make a routine save, proved fruitless for the visitors.

Kansas City came out swinging after the break, earning a chance in transition in the 45th minute. Bia capitalized on a defensive giveaway by ACFC and took a crack from the edge of the 18, but it was a routine save for Haračić.

The visitors equalized in the 54th minute. Midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo combined with Bia to find space outside the penalty arc, turned, and sent a powerful strike into the top left corner of the goal.

The Current continued to push as the half went on, with DiBernardo uncorking another long-range shot in the 65th minute, this time hitting the crossbar. Forward Claire Lavogez, who had entered in the 63rd minute, had a dramatic attempt in the 76th minute, putting a scorpion kick on frame, but it fell directly to Haračić.

The last ten minutes saw a flurry of activity, first with two chances from Angel City. In the 86th minute, midfielder Meggie Dougherty-Howard sent a free kick into the six-yard box, with forward Messiah Bright getting her head on the ball, but Franch saved. One minute later, defender Madison Curry took a long-range crack of her own, which went off target.

Kansas City notched the go-ahead goal in the final minute of regulation time when forward Izzy Rodriguez sent a low cross into the run of Lavogez, who one-timed the ball past Haračić from point-blank range. In the 93rd minute, the French international scored a second on another net-crashing run, this time finding the end of a ball from forward Temwa Chawinga.

Angel City are on the road next week, facing the Utah Royals on Friday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. Pacific. The game will be broadcast on NWSL+ and Bally Sports SoCal.

ACFC Milestones

Forward Claire Emslie scored her fourth goal of the 2024 regular season, making it her 10th NWSL career regular season goal.

Forward Alyssa Thompson earned her second assist of the 2024 regular season, making it her fourth NWSL career regular season assist.


ACFC Captain and Defender Ali Riley

On the match overall:

"It started off a bit transitional, but once we got some momentum, we showed how dangerous we can be. We were able to nullify their threats, which have been very successful this season. We were really proud of the work the girls were putting in. They put in huge tackles and [Madison] Curry had a great game."

"You have to be on your game for the entire 90 minutes. It's tough coming in as a sub and feeling the momentum shift. That's something that all of us will have to look at. I don't think you can fault the effort that was put in against a really top team. It's just a shame that we couldn't keep that going through the end and come out with three or at least 1 point."

On the "Big Anti-Racist Energy" Captain's armband that was worn today:

"We have a few different armbands, but we as a club really want to take all of the opportunities we can to show what we stand for. This is one of our favorites that we had from last season and we have our pride armband as well. There are restrictions to what we can wear when we go out onto the field. I had that opportunity at the World Cup, and we always want to find a creative way to show what the club has done."

ACFC Forward Alyssa Thompson

On KC Current adjusting in the second half:

"The changes that they made made it harder for us to get in positions that we wanted to. If we kept possession for a little bit longer, we could have been in the same spots that we were in the first half. It got challenging as it went on because we were running a lot."

On her assist to Claire Emslie:

"We had a lot of possession at the time and we were winning the ball back after we lost it too. Our shape behind the ball was really good, and we were able to get in positions that we practiced. There's just a lot of interchange and I went wide and I saw Claire and she's always in good positions. I passed her the ball and she scored."

ACFC Midfielder Rocky Rodriguez

On the support of ACFC Fans:

"We always want to win for the fans, for ourselves, and for Los Angeles. That's what brings us happiness: a win for the city, for the club, and for the fans. To lose a match in our home brings me so much pain, but that unconditional support makes Los Angeles a club that a lot of people want to be a part of. We're barely in our third year and it already has such an established culture and we can't lose that. That's something very special about Los Angeles."

ACFC Head Coach Becki Tweed

Thoughts on the match:

"We created a decent amount of opportunities in the first half. With the game plan structurally, we won tackles. We came in at half time in a good position. Something we've talked about is when we do get the lead, we have to continue to play, which arguably for 89 minutes, we did."

"We switched off for the last six minutes and you can't switch off in the last six minutes against any team in the NWSL, let alone a team that scored 20 goals. That is reflective of something we need to look at every day. We just have to get better from it."

On Claire Emslie's performance so far this season:

"Claire has found this confidence and this flare in the box and it's really cool to see. It's not even the scrappy goals now that she's scoring. It's composure, she knows what she's doing. You need a player like that. A player that's going to step up knowing that every game they're going to create or score goals for you."

"Claire's taken that role on. She's found a footing in the NWSL. Any player that comes over from Europe always finds it difficult. It takes some time to adapt and Claire's really adapted well, it's great. Also, Alyssa [Thompson] getting an assist is huge."

"We just have to keep working hard in that final third. I know it's cliche to say it's the hardest part of the game, but it really is. Credit to Claire she's been brilliant."

On Alyssa Thompson playing a different role in the 3-4-3:

"A new role for Alyssa, and it's a lot of work. At times she had to defend as a left back and she embraced it and did really well in it. It obviously requires a lot of up and down running box to box. She's more familiar with being a little bit closer to goal, but she showed a little bit more maturity tonight and how much she's grown."

"She's still 19, but she's taken on a different role. She understood it. The first question she asked me yesterday was do I have to take throw-ins, which was very interesting. It's the first time we've really played in that shape, using her as a wing back. Overall, she did really well in it."

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