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    Angel City FC facing difficult must-win situations
    • October 7, 2023

    The goal for Angel City Football Club this week and next week is simple.


    First up is a tough trip to face the Houston Dynamo (CBSSN, 4 p.m.), owners of the NWSL’s worst offense (only 15 goals scored) and stingiest defense (only 15 goals allowed).

    The last meeting between the teams June 25 ended in a scoreless draw. With two games left and currently out of the playoff picture, Angel City has entered must-win territory.

    “We felt like that for the last few games actually, especially against Orlando,” ACFC forward Claire Emslie said. “That was a must win for us in our eyes. It puts a bit more pressure on us because it’s only two games now and it’s crunch time.

    “This is a real test to see if we can do it when it matters. It’s a good pressure to have.”

    With OL Reign’s scoreless draw against Washington on Friday, Angel City (6-7-7, 25 points) will need a victory to move within one point heading into next week’s season finale. The only problem is ACFC, currently in 10th, has company in vying for the sixth and final spot. Behind the OL Reign (29 points) are Orlando (28), Racing Louisville (27) and Sunday’s opponent, the Dash (26).

    “They have a little different style and have made themselves really hard to beat, which credit to them defensively,” ACFC interim coach Becki Tweed said of Houston. “We need to make sure that we make the most of our opportunities. When I reflect and look back at Orlando, it’s a game that we should have walked away with the three points based on the performance.

    “Ultimately, you’ve got to put the ball in the back of the goal and Jane Campbell has been huge for Houston this year. She’s made some really good saves. Jane’s probably one of the most informed goalkeepers in the league and we’re aware of that. We know that we have to be more clinical in order to test her in and make her work.”

    Monday’s 2-1 home loss against the Orlando Pride was the first for Angel City since Tweed took over as interim coach. Angel City outshot Orlando 21-8, created 11 corner-kick opportunities compared to none for Orlando, and dominated possession at a 63.7% clip.

    “It wasn’t a game where we’ve been outplayed,” Tweed said. “It wasn’t a game where we can walk away from it saying we were beaten by the other team.

    “We beat ourselves. We weren’t clinical in the box, didn’t finish our opportunities and didn’t test enough on goal. Ultimately, it’s come down to one moment, but again, togetherness is now important. We move on from it and into the next game. This league is wild, who knows what happens in the next two games. We’re just going to do what we can to be in control of what we can control.”

    Angel City’s regular-season finale is Sunday at home against Portland (32 points).

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    Contract extensions

    Angel City has already started the process of building for next season, with contract extensions for forward Syndey Leroux and defender M.A. Vignola.

    Leroux’s contract was extended through the end of next season and Vignola’s contract was extended for two more seasons, through the end of 2025.

    Angel City FC at Houston

    When: 4 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Shell Energy Stadium, Houston

    How to watch: CBS Sports

    ​ Orange County Register