Angel City falls in season-opening loss to NWSL newcomers Bay FC

One play that encapsulated Angel City‘s season-opening loss came in the 90th minute when the ball finally got past Bay FC goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx and rolled slowly toward the net, only for Caprice Dedasco to clear it out just before it crossed line, preserving a 1-0 victory for the NWSL newcomers.

“It was a tough, probably, last 30 minutes I would say. It was tough,” Proulx said. “That save that [Dedasco] made on the line was crucial for us.”

Missed opportunities plagued Angel City in front of a sold-out crowd Sunday as the team struggled against Proulx, who made eight saves to secure the win.

Angel City failed to score despite 12 corner kicks and dominating time of possession 59% to 41%. In the 70th minute, a header from Sydney Leroux was deflected by Proulx right in the direction of Angel City forward Alyssa Thompson, whose shot off the rebound flew into the stands. In stoppage time, another shot from Thompson bounced off the crossbar, sealing Angel City’s fate.

“I think obviously [it was] a bit of a crazy game. Need to reflect a little bit and go back and watch it, but that’s football. It happens,” said Angel City coach Becki Tweed. “We just have to be way more ruthless in the box and creating chances. I think we dominated the second half, I think it took us way too long to get into the game. … I don’t think you saw the real us in the first 34 minutes.”

The first goal in Bay FC history came in the 17th minute when forward Asisat Oshoala zipped the ball through the upper right corner of the net, just out of the reach of Angel City goalkeeper Angelina Anderson.

“Sometimes you take just one opportunity to win a game, which was exactly what happened today,” Oshoala said. “We tried to make use of the opportunity. And for me … I was trying to look back to see if I was not offside.”

The goalkeepers saw plenty of action in the first half, with Angel City FC taking 19 shots, including nine shots on goal. Bay FC took eight shots, with six on goal. Angel City was the aggressor for much of the match, but it couldn’t capitalize.

“I actually was telling our staff, and Angel City staff, that we were outplayed to a certain extent,” said Bay FC head coach Albertin Montoya, with a relieved smile. “But the soccer gods were with us and our players believed in it. … So, incredibly proud.”

Angel City outplayed Bay FC most of the night, but it doesn’t have a win or three points to show for it. Tweed knows how well her team played in the second half, and believes it will be fine in the long run.

“We have to remember this is Game 1,” she said. “We all get caught up in acting like the first game is the be-all or end-all, but it’s Game 1 of a long, long season. We have to use this game as a huge learning point and a huge momentum shift for us. We go in tomorrow, we work hard, we get on the plane to Orlando and play another shift on Friday.”

Angel City plays its next three matches on the road before returning to BMO Stadium to play the North Carolina Courage on April 21.

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