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Angel City FC 2022 Player Postmortem: Savannah McCaskill

Breakout year for well-traveled attacker.

Chicago Red Stars v Angel City FC Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images for Angel City FC

Savannah McCaskill went from one expansion team to another for the 2022 season, as she was traded from 2021 new club Racing Louisville to Angel City FC ahead of their debut campaign this year.

McCaskill is an intriguing player. A legend in her native South Carolina, she was in the U.S. Women’s National Team mix as she started her NWSL career, but settling into just the right situation proved to be a challenge. After being drafted by the Boston Breakers, who folded before she could play for them, she played for Sky Blue FC, then the Chicago Red Stars, and then Racing.

In looking back at that track run, whoo boy, no wonder McCaskill found little stability at those clubs, which were all toxic and horribly run while she was there. The public has not gotten a full accounting for how bad things have been around the NWSL, and from what we know, it’s pretty obvious she’s seen some things, and unfortunately possibly experienced them, too. In that respect, her bouncing around should not be seen as a demerit on her.

Having said all that, McCaskill’s on-field skillset is unusual in this league. She’s been pegged as a playmaker, but in actual fact, she’s never really become a full-fledged provider. She’s a battling attacking midfielder who can chip in with a few goals and assists along the way, but in 2022, with Angel City casting about for goals with their top scoring options out injured long-term, McCaskill took over the load and ended up top scorer on the team by season’s end.

Here are McCaskill’s competitive stats with Angel City in 2022:

Savannah McCaskill Angel City FC 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Challenge Cup 5 5 391 1 0 6 4 0 1
Regular Season 21 21 1,827 7 2 34 13 4 0
Total 26 26 2,218 8 2 40 17 4 1

McCaskill had the first goal in Angel City history, in the opening Challenge Cup game:

She also had the first red card in club history, so there’s a couple trivia answers right there.

I think McCaskill’s season can be divided in two parts, basically. With Christen Press in the lineup, McCaskill was basically Angel City’s second option in attack. If Press couldn’t dribble up to goal to get her shot, then McCaskill was tasked of playing the ball in the box to set up teammates. On paper, it sounds like a good plan, but it just didn’t come off. McCaskill had one assist while Press was available.

But everything turned in the road game at Louisville in June. It was a barnburner, with Angel City playing well and Press and McCaskill both playing well. Then Press tore her ACL during the game, and McCaskill stepped up to make sure ACFC won the game against her old side. They did, 3-2.

From there, Angel City sought to find ways to replace Press’ contributions and it was trial-and-error. But the most reliable way to get on the board for the rest of the season? It was through McCaskill, who made a trademark of making the late run to the far post and poking in crosses right in front of goal.

But she had some sauce, too.

So McCaskill posted seven goals in regular season play in 2022. Her previous career high was three.

I think that’s the play moving forward. No player in NWSL is truly a playmaker at this point — assist leaders in the league typically come nowhere close to double digits on the season, believe it or not. McCaskill still has skill on the ball that others don’t, but as a Frank Lampard-esque midfielder who makes late runs and has a knack for getting in the box and scoring, she’s found paydirt. And that’s a skillset that won’t overlap with the other players on the roster, as the forwards are either running in the channels, pulling wide and back inside, or can make runs to the other post when getting numbers forward.

That’s validated in her scouting report graph, too. Her profile is by far the most favorable as a midfielder, and this clearly tips her to be a pure midfielder who still scores first, rather than a player who primarily looks to set up teammates.

McCaskill is under contract for 2023, and I would be very surprised if she is traded. I think she found her groove in Los Angeles, I think Angel City have figured out how best to use her in the NWSL, and I could see another strong campaign in 2023 with the attacking pieces healthy again, hopefully a few tweaks to keep the offense humming, and if the team fully clicks in Year 2. If that happens, I expect McCaskill to be in the middle of the action and it could turn out to be a very good year indeed for player and club alike.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.