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Angel City FC 2022 Player Postmortem: Claire Emslie

Scottish attacker lifted team in second half of season.

Brenton Tse

Claire Emslie was a rather surprising selection in the Expansion Draft by Angel City FC ahead of their debut season. Not because of the selection itself, but because Emslie, who had played for Orlando City in 2019, had been playing for Everton in England since 2020.

But the selection turned out to be a solid one. After Emslie’s contract finished with the Toffees, the Scottish international returned to the NWSL, making her debut in July.

It was not exactly a homecoming, but Emslie did tell reporters after her arrival that she was happy to be in Los Angeles, particularly because her sibling was living in the area and getting an opportunity to spend time with family while also playing was an irresistible offer.

Here are Emslie’s stats with Angel City in 2022:

Claire Emslie 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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Regular Season 10 9 783 3 0 16 12 0 0
Total 10 9 783 3 0 16 12 0 0

Emslie’s scoring rate was a goal a little over every three games, so it’s not like she carried the team after Christen Press and Sydney Leroux suffered season-ending injuries. However, Emslie had a flair for the dramatic and her goals certainly boosted the team along the way. Frankly, her scoring rate has been pretty consistent throughout her career, and she essentially maintained it here with regular playing time at Angel City.

But again, the drama of her goals. She scored the winner in the derby against San Diego Wave FC, which, oh yeah, was her Angel City debut.

This came almost immediately after San Diego tied up the game, and was the dagger on the night, that’s for sure.

Then she did well on this give-and-go from the flank for her next goal, on the road at Gotham FC in August, dribbling in and hitting the ball perfectly to catch the goalkeeper in the middle of nowhere as the ball sailed in.

Emslie’s final tally of the season with ACFC came in September, when she made the far post run and hit paydirt on a terrific cross.

All of Emslie’s goals came in wins, so I guess that’s a great data point. Had she played a full season here, would she have gotten six or so goals? I think that’s pretty likely.

Most importantly, Emslie brought something to Angel City’s attack that was not present. Even when Press and Leroux return, you can see Emslie keeping her role on the wing and chipping in with occasional goals, it makes sense.

While she’s an international, Emslie should have her Green Card now and I think that shores up her status on the squad moving into 2023. While the club did not release the length of her contract when signing her in July, I would expect she returns next season, and think with Scotland not going to the World Cup next year, she could play a key role should any ACFC attackers miss major time while at that tournament.

All in all, it was a solid half-season for Claire Emslie at Angel City FC. We’ll see what the future brings for her, but it sure feels like this is just the beginning for an established player.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.