Stoppage time against the Portland Thorns returns unpleasant memories to Angel City fans. On April 29, goalkeeper Bella Bixby backheeled a shot into the net, helping the Thorns draw with Angel City. Over a month later, stoppage time struck again as Angel City conceded their third goal in a 3-2 stoppage-time loss to the Thorns.
With the game tied 2-2, Angel City was trying to hang on to an NWSL Challenge Cup point, but the Thorns had other ideas. After the ball bounced around the box, forward Morgan Weaver scored a goal facing away from the net, stealing three points for the Thorns.
The Thorns struck with a goalkeeper goal in the two teams’ previous matchup. This time they did it with a well-timed deflection.
Because of Weaver’s goal, Angel City remains last in Group B, and six points off the lead with only three Challenge Cup group stage games remaining. Despite the loss, Angel City displayed resilience after falling behind by two goals.
60 minutes into the game, midfielder Clarisse Le Bihan curled a shot into the back of the net around goalkeeper Shelby Hogan to cut the Thorns’ to one goal. Forward Scarlett Camberos assisted on the goal, earning her first NWSL assist.
Just two minutes later, forward Alyssa Thompson drew a penalty which forward Claire Emslie scored to tie the game.
In the late loss, Thompson excelled for Angel City. She exhibited quick pace and skill to find space around the goal.
Two minutes into the game, Thompson made a series of moves and crossed the ball over Hogan’s head toward the back post from her back foot, but the cross was cleared.
12 minutes into the game, Thompson found space in the box to shoot from close range, but Hogan stopped it. This was the first shot on goal by either team.
37 minutes into the game, Thompson intercepted a pass, and cut back near the end line but missed the goal above the crossbar.
Defender Sarah Gorden also continued her run of solid form by slowing down the Thorns’ attack via clearances.
“Sarah [Gorden], as always, mopping up anything behind, she’s great,” said head coach Freya Coombe.
Still, Gorden and the rest of Angel CIty’s back line’s efforts fell short as Angel City conceded three goals. To improve results, Angel City will continue working on the basics and their set pieces.
“I think we will just keep focusing on our fundamentals, making sure we are dangerous on attacking set pieces, [be] a little more solid on our defensive set pieces, and just our ability and having more teeth within our tracks on the sideline… just the smaller details that we need to refine,” said defender Megan Reid.
The game against the Thorns also revealed updates on a few players’ injuries.
Julie Ertz returned after missing two games because of a thigh injury when she was substituted in for Madison Hammond 79 minutes into the game.
Jun Endo traveled with the team to Portland, Oregon, after suffering a knee injury last game. The Equalizer’s Taylor Vincent reported that she had her knee ‘immobilized.’ After the matchup, Coombe said Endo has an injury to her “knee ligaments” but not her ACL.
Regarding Sydney Leroux, Coombe said she is “almost there” but was not ready to return against the Thorns. She also said she expects “the biggest cheer of the year” when Leroux returns.
Next, Angel City plays the Chicago Red Stars on June 5 in an NWSL regular season game.