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Angel City FC suffers first regular-season defeat, falling to Orlando Pride

LOS ANGELES — Fresh off of last Friday’s thrilling debut, the Angel City Football Club looked like an expansion team Sunday.

It was a bad day from the start as Angel City (1-1, three points) allowed a goal within the first three minutes, struggled at times going forward and never got on track, eventually suffering a 1-0 loss to the Orlando Pride in front of 17,510 at Banc of California Stadium.

“Last week we showed everything that was positive in terms of attacking mode,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe said. “I thought we were at the races right from the get go and obviously under a lot of pressure early.

“I think we looked sluggish, we had too many unforced errors especially in the first half. We were unable to get going with our attack. I think we’ve shown that we’ve got it in us, so we’ll look forward to the next game where we can start and get those things right.”

The Pride (1-1) didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard.

In the third minute, Sydney Leroux, a former UCLA and U.S. National Team star, got to the end of a cross that eluded the outstretched arm of Angel City goalkeeper DiDi Haracic, for an easy tap-in.

The win was the first for former UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell, who is in her first year as coach of the Pride. Cromwell coached UCLA from 2013-2021.

It took some time in the first half, but Angel City finally found its footing.

“They pressed us well, especially in the first half,” Coombe said. “We made too many mistakes that were our own doing and not able to connect passes.”

Christen Press had the two best opportunities for goal in the first half. On the first occasion, the official raised her flag for offside. In the waning moments of the half, Press find a sliver of space and got a shot on target, by Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod got a hand on it to force a corner.

In the 90th minute, Angel City probably had its cleanest chance. Savannah McCaskill played a through ball to Jun Endo, who cut it back to Tyler Lussi, who was just outside the 6-yard box. Lussi’s shot was knocked down by Orlando goalkeeper Erin McLeod and eventually cleared away.

The game shows just how small the margins are from week to week in the league. Last week, Angel City defeated North Carolina Courage 2-1 and Saturday, the Courage wrapped up the NWSL Challenge Cup championship. Also, last week, the Pride were easily handled 3-0 by NJ/NY Gotham FC and this week, Gotham FC was routed by San Diego Wave 4-0.

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