After enjoying two matches at home, it was time for Angel City FC to hit the road once again, this time, against a familiar foe in Portland Thorns. The last time these two met was in Los Angeles, when Angel City closed out a tough Challenge Cup appearance with a solid 1-0 win. Thorns would be looking to avenge that loss, while ACFC was looking to find some consistency as they continue to build chemistry amongst this still very new roster. This time around was more like the first time these two met, with Thorns coming away with the 3-0 win at home.
To say the Thorns came out strong would be an understatement. They came out swinging rights and lefts that would make Mike Tyson proud. For a while, it was incredible to see Angel City withstand all that pressure. DiDi Haračić had several huge saves to keep it scoreless. Unfortunately, Portland wouldn't be denied and eventually broke through the defense in the first half for the lead. Kelli Hubly scored her first NWSL goal via header off a decent corner kick from Portland.
Just minutes later, Thorns doubled their lead courtesy of legend Christine Sinclair who was the beneficiary of an interception created off an ACFC mistake. As if those goals didn't let you know it wasn't our night, Simone Charley had a chance to cut the lead in half, wide open having gotten around the goalkeeper, and despite the awkward angle had a sure goal. That is, until the turf monster gobbled her up and she stumbled to the ground giving the defense a chance to recover. Sad times indeed.
The second half was a chance for Angel City to show some fight and work towards coming away with the result at the very least. It looked for a moment like that might happen. The team was able to rack up a ton of corner kicks in a 10 minute stretch, but couldn't break through the force field for a goal. It was one of those days where all the stats say you should've had a couple, but you end up on the wrong end of a blowout. Such is sports.
Thorns didn't let up, and got a third goal in the 68th minute. Sinclair got her brace after missing her first shot, but a second bite at the apple resulted in a header past the keeper for the goal.
After two straight shutout wins, this loss gives ACFC their second straight shutout loss. This one was tough to watch, as it’s clear this team is so close to ‘clicking’ but still needing a few tweaks to get there. Angel City finished the match with 13 corner kicks, and had 60% of the possession, yet couldn't find a goal. Even more frustrating when available talent is just sat on the bench for most of the match. Luckily for the team, it's a quick turnaround before their next match, as they host Houston Dash this Tuesday. The short turnaround means we will almost definitely see a hefty change in the XI. This is a year about establishing an identity, and setting the foundation for the future. There will be nights like this, the key is to make sure these are limited editions, and not something that becomes a constant.
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