Culver City Observer -

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By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Angel City Gets Unexpected Schedule Break

Match at North Carolina Rescheduled

 

Angel City FC made the following announcement yesterday, which gave the club unexpected added rest from the regular season. The match against the North Carolina Courage, originally scheduled for this Friday, July 15, will now take place Wednesday, September 14 due to COVID-19 protocols. The time of the rescheduled match will be announced in the coming days."

The break is short-term welcome news as the team reached the regular season's halfway mark with an encouraging 5-4-2 record and a tie for fourth place with 17 points. However, the rescheduled match will place ACFC in the unenviable position of having to play five matches in 15 days beginning September 11 at the Houston Dash. The first three matches will be on the road before they host two matches, the latter ending on September 25. Angel City will conclude the regular season the following week at Chicago versus the Red Stars.

Compounding the situation, on September 17, Angel City play at San Diego Wave FC's inaugural match at their newly constructed Snapdragon Stadium, located at San Diego State University's Mission Valley campus. The stadium's 35,000 seating capacity will certainly be filled for the 2nd Derby clash between the two Southern California franchises, both competing in their first season with the NWSL. The Wave will be seeking revenge for their 2-1 historic loss to ACFC before a sold-out crowd of 22,000 at the Banc of California Stadium last Saturday.

ACFC will host the OL Reign for their next match scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 7:30 p.m. at the Banc. Angel City played well enough for points but lost the initial match between the two clubs at Seattle, 1-0, on June 18. Currently both teams are tied for fourth in the league standings. The month of August will feature four matches total with three on the road: Aug. 7 at Orlando Pride; Aug. 14 vs Chicago at the Banc; Aug. 19 on the road at Kansas City Current; and at NJ/NY Gotham FC.

The NWSL Playoffs will feature the six clubs with the best regular season record. Angel City has been in the top half of the standings for the entire first half of the season. San Diego has been in first place since Week 2, with Portland and Chicago holding down the second and third place for the past month. The Houston Dash, Kansas City, Gotham FC are also legitimate threats to make the playoffs. The Orlando Pride, Racing Louisville FC, Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage continue to struggle at the bottom of the standings.

In related scheduling changes, on Thursday, July 15, the NWSL announced that NJ/NY Gotham FC's home match against the North Carolina Courage has been rescheduled and will take place on Sunday, September 4 at 5 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena. The match was originally scheduled to be played on May 14 before being postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The league also determined that North Carolina was in violation of the NWSL COVID-19 Medical Protocols and have been issued a $30,000 fine.

The NWSL board of governors also met in New York this week to discuss the state of the league as well as future strategic planning. Commissioner Jessica Berman stated: "This week's meetings have underscored what I have believed from my first day on the job; the NWSL will be the tip of the spear in driving transformational change in the professional sports landscape in this country.

Some of the results: There are plans for long-term investment in league broadcast operations as well as immediate improvements. Beginning in August 2022, the league will invest the necessary resources to upgrade all broadcasts. There are plans to further support and improve officiating, as well as the implementation of VAR technology for the 2023 season. The league will also intends to expand to 14 teams in 2024 and "the board approved a new set of NWSL Expansion Rules with the goal of maintaining parity across the league and ensuring long-term success of new and existing teams."

 

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