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Angel City isn’t flashy, but a consistent identity could mean playoffs in year one

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For some National Women’s Soccer League teams, it takes years to gain an identity. And even then, it takes a while longer to achieve any real success. This has not been the case for Angel City. In their debut season, the Los Angeles side has established exactly how they want to play, stood by their style, and currently sit just outside the playoff spots.

Head coach Freya Coombe has prioritized consistency to a level unrivalled by any other NWSL boss. In almost every game, she has deployed a 4-3-3 system. The only obvious exception was in the recent win over the Chicago Red Stars, during which Coombe went for a diamond midfield 4-4-2 to counter the opponent’s unique shape. Still, it took 14 regular-season fixtures to see a serious tactical shift.

On top of her preferred formation, Coombe has stuck by her core players, with only 19 different starters utilized over the 14 games. That is the lowest number in the league. Racing Louisville and San Diego Wave are the nearest to Angel City in this ranking, using just 20 different players from the start. (The Washington Spirit, on 25 different starters, have in this sense utilized their roster depth more than any other club.)

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