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    Angel City FC riding confidence into road game against Gotham FC
    • July 1, 2023

    It’s the time of season for NWSL teams when roster depth will be tested.

    Wednesday’s Challenge Cup game was the first for Angel City FC without Julie Ertz and Alyssa Thompson, who have joined the U.S. women’s national team for World Cup preparations. On Sunday, Ali Riley joins the absence list as she joins New Zealand’s national team.

    Including Sunday’s road game against NJ/NY Gotham FC (2:30 p.m., BSSC, Paramount+), Angel City has two games remaining before a three-week World Cup break. After the break, Angel City will play three games during the World Cup dates.

    The World Cup absences will provide players like Madison Hammond a chance to settle into a larger role.

    “Madison is so professional and she’s played different roles on the team this season and last season,” Riley said. “She is someone who is such a good teammate and has been working so hard. Those are the players that you want to have on a team. Those are the players you know are ready when their name is called. If they’re on the sideline, they’re giving you all their energy so that you can do your job.”

    Hammond scored the opening goal in Wednesday’s 2-1 Challenge Cup win over San Diego Wave FC. The win improves Angel City’s unbeaten streak to three since Becki Tweed took over as interim coach.

    “The confidence comes from our belief in each other and we have been consistent in performing in training for the past couple of weeks,” Hammond said.” You have to develop that level of consistency, competitiveness, and challenge each other to be better. Then you have moments like today (Wednesday) where players get opportunities and they’re ready to meet the moment.”

    Gotham FC is also dealing with multiple World Cup absences, with Lynne Williams, Kristie Mewis and Kelly O’Hara selected to the U.S. national team.

    “The question is how can we look at spaces that we want to target and hurt them,” Tweed said. “We prepare for moments like this. We prepare with a squad of players that can step in and do the roles. So it doesn’t change a crazy amount for us.”

    Gotham defeated Angel City 2-1 in the season opener March 26. Gotham enters this week in fifth place in the league (21 points). Angel City is ninth (13 points).

    Emslie, Endo available

    Tweed said Thursday that Claire Emslie (hip) and Jun Endo (knee) will be on the trip and available for selection. Both players have missed multiple games due to injury. Endo, from Japan, is another Angel City player who will be departing for the upcoming World Cup.

    Riley signs extension

    Before departing for the World Cup with her native country New Zealand, Riley signed an extension with the club through the 2025 season.

    The defender and team captain, who attended Harvard-Westlake High and Stanford University, joined Angel City ahead of the 2022 inaugural season.

    Angel City FC at NJ/NY Gotham FC

    When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ

    How to watch: Bally SoCal; Paramount+

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    ​ Orange County Register