It seems like it’s been a long time since Angel City Football Club played a game.
Angel City (5-4-2, 17 points) defeated San Diego Wave FC on July 9, but instead of following up that momentum the following week, Angel City went into a two-week break. Its game against the North Carolina Courage was postponed until September due to COVID-19 protocols and that was followed by the new one-week in-season break for all teams.
Now the fun resumes as Angel City hosts OL Reign on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium (7:30 p.m., Paramount +).
“The players have come back in super fresh and ready to go,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe said. “We’ve almost had too long of a break, so everyone is super focused and ready to go.
“There’s definitely a renewed freshness to the squad, certainly that’s what we want as we head into the business part of the season.”
Angel City has 11 games remaining. It is tied with OL Reign, which it has not beaten in three tries this season, with 17 points and sixth place in the single-table 12-team standings. The top six teams qualify for the playoffs.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming them to the Banc,” Coombe said. “They haven’t played in this environment yet. We know where we can look to exploit them.”
OL Reign defeated Angel City twice – by scores of 3-1 and 2-1 – during the NWSL Challenge Cup. In their lone regular-season meeting, OL Reign won 1-0 on a Bethany Balcer goal in the 31st minute.
The second half of the season might be a challenge for Angel City. The club has just four home games versus seven on the road and a daunting September stretch that will feature five games in 15 days.
“How we’ve attacked the season hasn’t been a surprise, but pleasing for us to push forward and be in a spot where we can challenge for a playoff position,” Coombe said. “The travel schedule is going to be tricky, but I think we’ve picked up some players that have really good experience and our leaders within the group who can manage players’ expectations, who can communicate freely with the coaching staff and are really willing to learn and adapt when it comes to managing load and fatigue.
“We know the tough spot is ahead of us, but we know we’ve got the support of the club and the fans. It is real exciting to know that everyone is wanting us to have success and I think that will definitely take us through the final part of the season.”
Jasmyne Spencer on the mend
Spencer (knee) suffered a knee injury May 29. She is expected to be available against OL Reign, Coombe said.
“We’re anticipating that Jas will be fit and will be available for selection,” Coombe said.
Maia Perez heads out on loan
Angel City announced that goalkeeper Maia Perez will go on loan to Grand Paris Seine Ouest 92 Issy in France for one calendar year. Perez will be the club’s starter when the season begins next month in France’s top division.
Perez had been with Angel City since preseason started in February.
Angel City will add to its goalkeeping group with the arrival of German goalkeeper Almuth Schult, who will arrive after the UEFA European Championships.