PORTLAND – Angel City Football Club (ACFC) fell 3–2 on the road against the Portland Thorns in a 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup match that saw them come back from a two-goal deficit, then give up a third late in stoppage time.
“I think for any team, it is so important to be put in these situations where you are down a goal or down two goals and to know that as a team you have the belief to come back from something like that. Having these experiences at this part of the season is so important in order to know you can do that further down the season,” Angel City defender Megan Reid said.
Portland opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when forward Izzy D’Aquila sent a long diagonal ball from deep on the right wing to forward Michelle Vasconcelos as she sprinted into the box on the left. Vasconcelos muscled past ACFC midfielder Madison Hammond as she tracked her run and one-timed the ball past Goalkeeper Brittany Isenhour.
The Thorns doubled their lead in the 46th minute when midfielder Olivia Moultrie sent a free kick diagonally toward the six-yard box, where D’Aquila made a play for the ball but couldn’t quite connect. However, Moultrie’s attempt brushed past her and landed in the goal.
Angel City pulled one back in the 61st minute, when forward Scarlett Camberos laid a pass off to midfielder Clarisse Le Bihan, who took a few touches to get into the box and sent a hard left-footed shot toward the far post and into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, fast on the heels of a Portland chance where D’Aquila hit the crossbar, forward Alyssa Thompson sprinted into the box on a transition play. Goalkeeper Shelby Hogan dove to claim the ball but failed to gain control of it. As Thompson made a play for the ball, Hogan dove again, knocking Thompson down.
No foul was called on the play, but upon review, the center ref pointed to the spot. Forward Claire Emslie stepped up to take the kick and sent her hip-height shot to the left and into the net to level the score in the 66th minute.
In the 76th minute, Portland forward Morgan Weaver sent a sideways pass from just inside the
Late in stoppage time, forward Christine Sinclair floated a ball toward the top of the six-yard box, where Weaver flicked it on with a scorpion kick-like touch, sending it onward and into the net. Afterward, Angel City FC coach Freya Coombe had this to say about the team’s matchup against Portland.
“It was a pretty even affair for the most part,” Coombe said. “A few mistakes cost both teams, but we made a few mistakes that credit to Portland, took advantage of and capitalized on. I was pleased with our fight and spirit to get back into the game, and there was momentum with us, but unfortunately, we couldn’t hold on. They’ve shown themselves to be a good team in the dire moments of games and they did it again tonight.”
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