If the recent UCL final has taught us anything, it's that a team need only one good—or lucky—chance at goal to get a favorable result. The low-block, fast-counter conundrum that has taunted many possession-based squads applies at least partially to the Angel City match on Sun., May 29, at the Banc of California Stadium, where the home side lost 1-0 despite outshooting their opponents 23 to 7 and generally outplaying the visitors on every other front.
ACFC's first opportunity came early in the opening minutes with a cross from Tyler Lussi to Christen Press, who missed a close-range volley. Freya Coombe's side continued to implement a front-footed attack, with multiple opportunities generated from Jun Endo, Jasmyne Spencer, and Lussi.
"We led every category other than goals scored and yellow cards," said Coombe after the game. “I think we showed real dominance in the second half. Initially, we were just rushing in the final third and really weren’t converting our chances. I think we showed a little bit more patience towards the end of the second half and that translated into entries into the box and touches in the box."
In a controversial non-call, ACFC forward Simone Charley was taken down in the box, but it was waved on by the officiate.
With a scoreless first half, all signs pointed to an Angel City goal in the second, with the home crowd cheers bolstering every set piece, tackle, and turnover. In the 57th minute, however, Gotham had their breakthrough moment with a cross from Caprice Dydasco to Ifeoma Onumonu, who finished a bouncing ball in the box past DiDi Haracic.
Angel City rallied with some valiant attempts at goal, posting 7 shots in the last 10 minutes of play alone, but their inability to score early on, coupled with some key saves from Gotham keeper Ashlyn Harris, doomed the expansion club from clinching their third straight win and capturing the top league spot.
Notably, 18,784 people were in attendance for the match, continuing an impressive roll out for Angel City, who currently boast the greatest home attendance figures in the league.
Angel City FC v. Portland Thorns, Fri., June 3, at 7:30 p.m. in Portland
Gotham FC v. Washington Spirit, Sat., June 4, at 4 p.m. in New York