LOS ANGELES — Savannah McCaskill can add a new role to her NWSL resume.
McCaskill, who joined Angel City FC this season, has turned into a much-needed goal scorer for the club. She had the lone goal in the friendly win against Tigres Wednesday and carried it over to Sunday.
McCaskill scored the lone and winning goal for Angel City (6-5-3, 21 points) in the 1-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars in front of 17,002 at Banc of California Stadium.
“It was a huge win,” McCaskill said. “We needed the three points to continue our playoff push and especially at home.”
She currently leads the team with five goals this season.
The win kept the expansion club in the hunt for one of the six playoff spots. Angel City remains in seventh place, but is now just two points behind sixth-place Chicago.
McCaskill’s goal came in the 48th minute.
“One of my biggest for this season is getting myself higher (on the field) and getting into the box more,” McCaskill said. “I saw the ball go out the flank and Claire (Emslie) was going to cross the ball in, so I came in from the back side, I don’t think the defender saw that I was coming in and the ball was perfect, straight to the back post and I was able to put it in.”
Taking a second-half lead and holding on has been a difficult combination for Angel City. In three of its last four league games, Angel City has had the second half lead, only to lose it. In those situations, they’ve settled for two draws.
True to the script, Chicago applied heavy amounts of pressure for the final 20 minutes, but Angel City managed to hold on.
The game was the sixth one-goal game Angel City has been involved in so far this season.
“We’ve talked about it all season, being able to close out games and I think this was the first time that we dominated the first 60-65 minutes and then we were able to protect that lead the last 25-30 minutes,” McCaskill said. “I think that’s huge. I think it shows growth, it shows that we’ve learned those hard lessons throughout the season and we’re starting to apply those things that we’ve learned and being able to close out games is going to help us make playoffs.
“I think being able to get out on the front foot, get a goal and being able to protect that lead, that was a complete performance for us today.”
The challenge facing Angel City now is closing out the season. It is a task that will see the team on the road for six of the final eight games. The next league home game is not until Sept. 21 against the Washington Spirit.
The turnaround from Sunday’s win is a short one with team headed to face the Kansas City Current Friday. That’s the first of five consecutive road games for Angel City.
“This was a really big win,” Angel Coach Freya Coombe said. “I think with some of the results this weekend, other teams are making that push for the playoffs and that’s where we want to be. It was important for us to keep up. We have games in hand, but it was important for us to get three points, especially at home and with the busy travel schedule we have coming up.”