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NWSL schedule: 3 critical matchups on the week 12 slate

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 10: Julie Ertz #8 of Angel City FC passes the ball during the NWSL game between Angel City FC and Washington Spirit at Audi Field on June 10, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

With four weeks left before the NWSL breaks for a month, week 12 should be the time when every club will be looking to find their stride.

Each week in the NWSL finds a way to deliver. Whether it is a Kerolin hat trick or a surprise result in Orlando, week 12 has a lot to live up to compared to last week. Unlike the past two weekends of regular season fixtures, the league has all six contests scattered across only Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend starts off at Snapdragon Stadium for the southern California clash as Angel City FC begins its next chapter, attempting once again to snap its winless streak. The nightcap on Saturday is arguably the matchup of the weekend. OL Reign heads to Houston coming off a quality result at Lumen Field while the Dash have not lost a match in June.

Week 12 closes out in the midwest as the Washington Spirit travel to Kansas City to take on the struggling Current. Here are three contests that you should keep an eye on as the NWSL rides into the final weeks before the World Cup:

3 vital NWSL matches on the week 12 slate:

3. Angel City FC at San Diego Wave

Date: Saturday, June 17, 4:00 p.m. EST

How to watch: CBS

While Casey Stoney’s Wave have won three out of their last four meetings against their southern California rivals, Angel City is in desperation mode. The new era in the City of Angels begins now. According to The Athletic on Thursday afternoon, ACFC fired manager Freya Coombe as the second-year side sits second from the bottom. Becki Tweed will take over as the interim head coach until a permanent fit is found. The Los Angeles side has not collected a point in the last four matches across all competitions. San Diego have been on the road for the last two weeks, and this matchup marks the start of a two-game homestand in the league.

Only one team in the NWSL has a shots-on-target percentage less than 30 percent. That is the club that calls BMO Stadium home. No team has more crosses through 11 weeks of the regular season than ACFC. It is all about being more efficient in front of the goal. San Diego won’t make it that simple. It is tied for the most clean sheets in the league right now with the North Carolina Courage at five.

In the last California clash, the LA side had just two shots on target out of its 17 total shots while San Diego netted two goals on its three shots on target. Some thought being on the road given their home struggles would get Angel City back on track, but once again, they cannot capitalize when an opportunity presents itself in the final third. With the national spotlight shining on them, these two second-year clubs should deliver a quality match as Stoney’s Wave have their eyes set on staying atop the table.

Prediction: Angel City FC 1-3 San Diego Wave

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