LOS ANGELES — The Angel City Football Club saw its playoff hopes take a hit Monday night.
With a chance to move even on points for the sixth and final playoff spot in the 12-team NWSL, Angel City was unable to break through against the Orlando Pride and suffered a 1-0 loss in front of 18,102 at BMO Stadium.
The loss leaves Angel City on 25 points and in ninth place with just two games remaining. The loss was also the first for Angel City under interim coach Becki Tweed. Angel City had an 11-game unbeaten streak (6-0-5) under Tweed in both league and Challenge Cup competitions.
“Soccer is a funny game, you can dominate and lose or you can dominate and win,” Tweed said. “It comes down to us just not being clinical enough.”
Orlando (9-10-1, 28 points) scored in the 22nd minute, leaving Angel City almost a full night’s worth to chase the game. Tweed attempted to find the spark, bringing on Sydney Leroux, Scarlett Camberos and Jasmyne Spencer as attacking substitutes in the second half.
In the 84th minute, Angel City thought it had earned a penalty kick as a cross appeared to have hit one or perhaps two Orlando defenders in the arm/hand area. However, referee Brandon Stevis was never alerted to take a look on the video review monitors.
In responding to a pool reporter’s question, Stevis said: “The on-field official determined that it wasn’t a punishable hand ball offense for a penalty kick. The VAR checked the incident as with all the hand ball offenses in the penalty area and the check was completed the decision.”
Angel City dominated the possession battle and earned 11 corner kicks, but was unable to get anything by Orlando goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse.
This was the last game of Week 20, and both teams began the game outside of the top six in the league standings. The top six teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the NWSL playoffs.
“At this point of the season, we have to win games,” midfielder Dani Weatherholt said.
The loss leaves Angel City in a similar situation to last season – heading into the final two weeks of the season mathematically alive but needing to climb a couple of hurdles in the process. Angel City visits the eighth-place Houston Dash (6-6-8, 26 points) on Saturday and then concludes the regular season on Oct. 15 at home against the second-place Portland Thorns (9-6-5, 32 points). The Dash will be extremely tough, considering the game will be in Houston and that’s a team that has allowed just 15 goals all season.
The Pride struck first Monday on a spectacular volley hit from Adriana. The initial shot was deflected into the air and over to the right where Adriana hit it a second time, beating Angel City goalkeeper Angelina Anderson inside the near post.
Anderson was making just her second NWSL start, replacing regular starting goalkeeper DiDi Haračić, who was sidelined with a back injury.
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