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    Angel City FC heads to Orlando ready to bounce back
    • April 1, 2023

    The Angel City Football Club rode the emotions in last week’s regular-season opener.

    From the fast start, with an opening goal from Alyssa Thompson, to having a second goal wiped off due to video review, ACFC ended up on the wrong end of a 2-1 result in front of a sellout home crowd.

    Now the club will look to regroup Sunday on the road against the Orlando Pride (2:30 p.m., Paramount+).

    “The first 20 minutes we started really well,” ACFC forward Claire Emslie said. “When Jun (Endo) scored to put us up by two, we were in a really good possession position.

    “The VAR decision was a lot of the girls’ first experience on the field, when the game gets stopped for so long. That kind of changed things, allowing Gotham to change their shape, which made it a bit harder for us to break them down.”

    The first VAR decision occurred after Endo’s strike from 40 yards flew into the net for an apparent 2-0 lead. However, after referee Elijio Arreguin went to the monitor, he disallowed the goal due to a foul by teammate Dani Weatherholt during the play.

    The second video review that went against Angel City came early in the second half when it was judged that goalkeeper DiDi Haracic brought down Gotham FC’s Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir for a penalty. Initially, the referee didn’t rule a foul, but did so after going over the video review.

    “We showed that we could still create chances in the dying moments,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe said. “But we learned a little bit about ourselves in terms of our responses to VAR decisions when things didn’t particularly go our way.”

    Angel City will be facing an Orlando Pride club that underwent a makeover during the offseason. The Pride finished 10th last season and lost its season opener 4-0 to the Portland Thorns.

    “Orlando is always a tough place to play,” Coombe said. “They will probably be disappointed with the result that they had against Portland, looking to make that right, especially with it being their first home game of this regular season.

    “We’re going to see a very competitive Orlando team come out. There’s an element where they may be a little unpredictable.”

    Camberos available

    Scarlett Camberos, who joined Angel City FC earlier this week from Club America, will be available, Coombe said.

    “Scarlett has been a great addition,” Coombe said. “She was on our radar, playing last year. We also got to see her do her thing when we played against Mexico at BMO Stadium last year. What she offers for us is again, another forward who can help us apply pressure to opposition throughout 90 minutes with our strong forward line. She’s dynamic, great on the dribble, and good at combining. She’ll be a great fit in this league.”

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    International duty

    With a FIFA international window approaching, four Angel City players will depart after the game to join their respective national teams. Emslie will join Scotland for games April 7 and 11; Jun Endo will join Japan for games April 7 and 11; Katie Johnson will join Mexico for games April 8 and 11; and Ali Riley will join New Zealand for games April 7 and 11.

    Angel City at Orlando

    When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando

    How to watch: Paramount+

    ​ Orange County Register