There may only be three matches left in the regular season, but we are just getting started it feels like, in the fight for the final playoff spot. Playing a Washing Spirit side who have already been eliminated from postseason contention, Angel City FC came into tonight looking to defend their home field, as well as pull even closer to that sixth and final playoff spot. While a win wouldn't put them over the line, it would pull them within a point of the Chicago Red Stars, who they play on the final day of the season. First, they'd have to get he win over a Spirit side who would love nothing more than to play spoiler for every team they face going forward.
Beverly Hills, what a thrill!— Angel City FC (@weareangelcity) September 21, 2022
Troop Angel City FC reporting for duty! #Volemos | #NWSL | #LAvWAS | #AngelCityFC pic.twitter.com/SjCkUSvRpe
Angel City came out to start the match like a team that had everything on the line. The finished the first half with 11 shots to Washington’s six shots, and kept 52% of the possession. They were peppering the goal often and came within an early lead on several occasions, but great goalkeeping, and a pesky post, kept ACFC off the board for a bit. It wasn't until near the end of the half that ACFC got their deserved goal.
A beautiful ball forward found a running Ali Riley, who sent a ball right across the goal with enough pace to get past the defenders and find Claire Emslie on the other side. She wasted zero time in giving her new club the lead in the crucial match at home.
Sure you've seen an @Emslie22 goal, but have you seen one... ?@WeAreAngelCity | #AngelCityFC pic.twitter.com/1rihcTP7bJ— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) September 22, 2022
As dominant as Angel City looked that first half, Washington was able to get off some really great looks on their few chances, so the match was far from over. Which is why it’s a great thing they doubled their lead in the 52nd minute of the match. After nearly getting an assist, Simone Charley put herself in the box perfectly to be on the receiving end of a great cross from Jasmyne Spencer. Charley climbed the ladder, and put it home with a header for the second goal of the night.
The cross, the header, the cushion goal by @SimoneCharley!#LAvWAS@WeAreAngelCity | #AngelCityFC pic.twitter.com/RC9UejnV5W— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) September 22, 2022
That second goal woke up the visitors, who shifted into the next gear in hopes of creating some NWSL After Dark chaos. They nearly pulled it off too, with a late-match penalty call that, objectively speaking, was incredibly harsh and really soft to give but credit to Washington for drawing it with the smart play. They converted their penalty to pull within one with just two minutes and stoppage time left to play.
There were some tense moments, but in the end, Angel City came away with the massive win at home. While a draw wouldn't have eliminated them from playoffs, the win tonight puts them firmly in control of their destiny. With a million playoff scenarios around NWSL, all Angel City have to do is win their last two, and they will see the postseason in year one. Just two matches left, with their last match at home coming this Sunday when they take on Racing Louisville, another team out of the playoffs, with sights set on ruining the fun in LA.
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