Sydney Leroux expected to return in ‘next few games’

Credit: Angel City Football Club
Head coach Freya Coombe provided updates on Sydney Leroux, Christen Press, and Merritt Mathias' injuries.

LOS ANGELES — Angel City is in eighth place in the NWSL, and they have only won two of the seven games they have played. Nonetheless, the team generally feels like they are improving. 

Angel City signed United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) midfielder Julie Ertz a few weeks ago, and their play has looked more organized since. Ertz’s teammates feel like they are running less because of her presence and play higher because of her steady defense. But her impact is not the only good news for Angel City.

Head coach Freya Coombe revealed that forward Sydney Leroux has been integrating well into training and is expected to return within the next few games. While Leroux returned to training at the beginning of April, her return now seems imminent. 

“[Leroux] is absolutely flying,” Coombe said. “She is working incredibly hard on the training field. Her recovery now is going great. And she is starting to integrate now into team training. So we are hoping to see her in the new few games, I would say, but still not quite there yet.” 

Leroux suffered a right ankle injury last season after Angel City traded for her midseason to replace forward Christen Press, who was out because of a torn ACL. According to Coombe, Leroux’s recovery was slow because of a delay in deciding to have surgery. And when she finally returns, she can help them take the next step. 

Leroux is relentless in the final third and does not give up on chances. If there is a window of opportunity, she goes for it. 

“[Leroux] is the kind of player that is absolutely relentless in chasing down balls that most balls forwards will say, ‘ah, I’m not going to get there, so I’m not going to go for it.’ But Syd[ney Leroux] is the kind of player that is going to go for it, and 99% of the time she is going to get there, and she is going to make something happen,” said midfielder Savannah McCaskill. 

Leroux will also help Angel City in set pieces. Like her tenacity with through balls, she does whatever it takes to put crosses in the net. 

“I know that Syd[ney Leroux] will be chomping at the bit looking at those deliveries because she will do anything to score. She will end up in the goal with the ball and the goalie and all the defenders,” said defender Ali Riley after Angel City’s loss to the San Diego Wave four weeks ago.

Leroux’s return may not be the only boost for Angel City, though. Coombe also provided an update on Press’ status after a video of her running was shared on social media. 

“I think what you’ve seen from Christen [Press] running with sneakers on is where she is at right now. But it’s great,” Coome said. “I think that her running form is looking superb. We are just making sure that we track her return to play and are able to tick the boxes in a very controlled and methodical manner. So we’ll continue to work with Christen on her return to play and see her start to integrate more in with the team as the weeks go on.” 

Coombe also said defender Merritt Mathias is making “great progress” after suffering a left knee injury but is “a little way off” returning to training with the team. 

Nonetheless, with Leroux returning soon and Press and Mathias returning afterward, Angel City fans have much to be hopeful for this season. Next, Angel City faces the North Carolina Courage on May 20.