Angel City FC’s second half magic leads to draw with Racing Louisville FC

Credit: Angel City Football Club
ACFC struggled with their energy levels early on. Then, they flipped the switch to mount a comeback in the second half.

LOS ANGELES — It is always entertaining when Angel City FC (ACFC) plays. From a second-half collapse to a last-minute game-winning goal, ACFCs first few games have come down to the wire. And tonight was no different against Racing Louisville FC. 

But it did not start well for ACFC. 

Midfielder M.A. Vignola conceded a penalty kick three minutes into the game after an errant tackle. Then, Racing Louisville midfielder Savannah DeMelo buried the penalty kick to give Racing Louisville the lead.

Later in the first half, forward Kirsten Davis launched a shot into the top corner of the net past the outstretched hands of ACFC goalkeeper Didi Haračić to give her team a two-goal lead. 

ACFC mounted their own attacks in the first half, and midfielder Savannah McCaskill was often the catalyst for them. She made runs up the middle of the field and looked for her teammates with through balls and other passing attempts. 

15 minutes into the game, McCaskill passed a through ball to forward Claire Emslie, who missed the goal with a long-distance shot. Later in the first half, she used a series of dribbles to create space but missed a shot wide of the goal as she fell to the ground.

Despite the scoring chances, ACFC could not convert. Then, early in the second half, head coach Freya Coombe substituted in forward Alyssa Thompson, midfielder Madison Hammond, and Ali Riley, giving her team a much-needed spark. 

Alyssa Thompson drew a foul just outside of the box 67 minutes into the game, setting up a free kick. Then, McCaskill floated in a cross on a free kick which forward Katie Johnson knocked in to cut Racing Louisville’s lead to one goal. 

Later in the game, Thompson sent a cross into the box, but a header stopped its progress. However, McCaskill swept the bouncing ball into the net as she faded away from the goal. 

Primarily thanks to McCaskill and the substitutes’ contributions, the game finished 2-2. After conceding two chances in the first half, ACFC flipped the script to pick up a point.

“[McCaskill] led the categories in terms of statistics, which included shots on target, crosses attempted, completed passes in the final third, completed passes, successful dribbles and second in chances created, as well as a goal,” Coombe said. “That’s one hell of a performance.”

ACFC also was more patient in the second half. They did not settle for empty crosses or challenging shots. Instead, they built up more threatening attacks. 

“[In the second half] we were able to win balls, had better shape behind the ball to be able to stop those transitional moments,” Coombe said. “We were a little bit more patient rather than sending balls into an empty box. We were able to possess the ball a little more and look for those moments to attack and that was key.”

Despite the comeback, the team will look to play a more complete full 90-minutes. McCaskill believes their energy level can in the early stages of games.

“We just didn’t show up like we needed to in the first half. From an individual and a collective standpoint, the energy wasn’t there, and we didn’t do what we needed to do, both on and off the ball,” McCaskill said. “Everyone saw in the second half, fatigue wasn’t an issue. We had the energy, we had everything that we needed to go and get two goals back. That’s just something that we have to focus on as a group going forward, that it’s not a fatigue issue.” 

ACFC will play two more games over the next seven days. First, they will face the OL Reign in an NWSL Challenge Cup game. Then, they will play their rivals, the San Diego Wave.

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