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Le Bihan finding Angel City role

Ric Tapia-The Sporting Tribune
Le Bihan has started three straight matches leading Angel City in chances created.

LOS ANGELES — Clarisse Le Bihan was once a frequent face in the Angel City squad. But, the 29-year-old midfielder was relegated to a smaller role in matches, appearing in two of Angel City’s first six games. 

Le Bihan’s lack of impact on the training environment led to some of the reduced playing time. Head coach Becki Tweed values training sessions, with squad selection sometimes depending on form. So, she challenged Le Bihan to influence practice sessions further.

Le Bihan felt she was making a solid effort but responded to the message by working harder. Since then, she has regained a starting spot and is beginning to make an impact. 

“I was frustrated because I wanted to be on the field, but I wasn’t,” Le Bihan said. “[Tweed] challenged me. She told me she was expecting better. She was expecting more from me. It was tough to take, but I was like, ‘Okay, then that’s what I gotta do.’ I tried to give a bit more every day. I thought I was doing that already, but maybe it was showing more, better behavior [and] better attitude.”

Le Bihan started three consecutive matches, playing 222 minutes and making an immediate impact. She led in Angel City in chances created in them, with three against the Houston Dash, three versus the Washington Spirit and two facing the San Diego Wave. 

Le Bihan also added calm during chaos, helping Angel City slow down matches when they became frantic. Against the Wave on Friday, Le Bihan took 37 touches, won four-of-five duels and completed two-of-three tackles, according to FotMob

“She’s one of those players that when the game is fast, she slows it down,” Tweed said. “You need that in this league because it can become really frantic.”

Ric Tapia/The Sporting Tribune

Despite Le Bihan’s impact, Angel City is struggling to win. In her starts, the team lost two matches and drew one. However, she wants to help them get on track. 

Le Bihan can further her impact by producing more. She has made a difference through chance creation but has yet to score or assist. Whether she is creating better opportunities for her teammates or finding looks, Le Bihan wants to get on the stat sheet more often.

“I can still make better decisions in the final third and take some shots, too,” Le Bihan said. “But, I think we are getting close. 

Tweed agrees.

“My challenge to [Le Bihan] is (the same as) any No. 9, No. 10, or winger in this league, you want to production,” Tweed said. “It is the final passes and finishing. We are just one pass off that final pass. We have to get better at it, but it will come.”

Angel City feels they are close to breaking through. They have remained around the playoff line despite struggling to get results. Le Bihan’s impact and aspiration for improvement could help push them over.