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Match Preview: Angel City vs North Carolina Courage | 4.21.24


Sunday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m., Angel City is back at home for the first time since their March 17 opener, hosting the North Carolina Courage. The match will be broadcast in Southern California on Bally Sports SoCal and elsewhere in the US on CBS Sports Network, with an English-language radio broadcast on iHeart.


Last week, Angel City won 1–0 on the road against Chicago. The team dominated the first half, holding onto the ball an impressive 68% of the time, and forcing a Chicago own goal in the 40th minute. They hung onto the lead through the second half with gritty defensive showing to secure their first win of the season—and to hand the Red Stars their first loss.

North Carolina’s last game was a 2–0 home win against Portland. That result came on the strength of a fifth-minute goal by forward Tyler Lussi. The former Angel City player also recorded an assist on her team’s second goal, a 35th-minute effort by Haley Hopkins.
The Courage are currently in second place in the standings with a 3–1–0 (W–L–D) record. Following their win last weekend, Angel City jumped four places to land in 10th place with a 1–2–1 record.

Against the Courage, Angel City are 2–1–1 all-time, having earned a 2–1 win at home in their last meeting with the team.

Scouting Report

North Carolina have made relatively few changes in the offseason, choosing to mostly continue with the squad that earned them a third-place finish in 2023. One notable change, however, was out of their hands: the loss of 2023 MVP Kerolin to injury, as the forward tore her ACL in the final game of the regular season last year. The Brazil international was the team’s leading scorer last year with 10 goals, also the second-most goals of any player league-wide.

There’s no replacing a player like Kerolin, but the Courage did bring in another top attacking player from the Spirit in midfielder Ashley Sanchez. Sanchez’s addition is already paying off for North Carolina, as the dynamic No. 10 leads the team in chances created (11), passes into the box (29), and total shots (11). Sanchez has also added a goal and two assists so far.

The other major roster addition is defender Bianca St-Georges from the Chicago Red Stars. St-Georges is an aggressive attacking outside back who adds offensive strength on the wing and has already tallied two assists on the season.

The Courage, like Angel City, play a possession-based style; in fact, they have the league’s highest average possession over the course of the season so far, with 58% (Angel City is in third place in that statistic, with 55%). That strong possession number reflects their strength passing the ball—they also have both the most total passes and the highest passing accuracy of any team.

In addition, North Carolina has one of the stingiest defenses in the league, with just three goals against; only San Diego and Gotham, each with two goals against, have conceded fewer.

First Starts

Five Angel City players—goalkeeper DiDi Haračić, defender Megan Reid, defender Jasmyne Spencer, midfielder Rocky Rodríguez, and midfielder Lily Nabet—got their first starts of the season last week, all putting in strong performances. For Rodríguez, who joined the team via trade in the offseason, it was also her first-ever start for Angel City, as she was sidelined at the beginning of the season due to concussion protocol.

Rodríguez’s return gives Head Coach Becki Tweed another strong option in the central midfield, alongside Nabet, Amandine Henry, Meggie Dougherty Howard, and Kennedy Fuller. She’s a true No.8 who contributes equally well on both sides of the ball: against Chicago, she created one chance, completed two successful dribbles (out of two attempts), seven passes in the final third, and won possession four times.

Back at Home Again

Angel City is at home this weekend for the first time since their March 17 season opener. Having turned in an excellent first-half performance in Chicago and earned their first win, the momentum is on ACFC’s side as they return home.
What’s more, North Carolina has been at home for three out of their first four games—and their only loss on the season was in Week Three on the road in Utah. They should be especially wary of road trips to LA, as they’ve lost both games at BMO.