Julie Ertz dropped out of the sky a few weeks ago, rejoined the USWNT and announced she was planning to sign for an NWSL team. Since, some heavily devoted Angel City fan must’ve prayed very hard, located a genie lamp or searched and spliced timelines, because Ertz has chosen L.A. – and it’s a perfect fit.
Ever since their existence, head coach Freya Coombe’s Angel City has struggled controlling matches. Their best solution so far has been to deploy a high intensity, nonstop running style in hopes of creating as many chances as they were conceding. While the NWSL is a highly transitional league, getting into chaos-level track meets every match isn’t ideal, and takes its toll.
Star signing Christen Press tore her ACL and Sydney Leroux — signed to make up for the loss of Press — was sidelined due to a microfracture in her ankle. This season, they’ve already lost forward Simone Charley for the season due to a ruptured Achilles.
A few other factors have contributed as well. Last season they were missing major pieces of their defense with center backs Sarah Gorden rehabbing and Vanessa Gilles only playing seven matches. Gilles is in Europe on loan with Lyon, but Gorden is back, and her quality in defense has already made a difference.
However, more frequent control of midfield has been the glaring missing key to getting the most out of Angel City’s talented squad. With Julie Ertz suddenly falling from the sky and back into soccer, they suddenly have one of the best defensive midfielders to ever do it.
Ertz at her best is a midfield torpedo set to disrupt and destroy opposition attacks. Her effectiveness and range helped the USWNT secure the 2019 World Cup. If Ertz can get back to doing Julie Ertz things (which, miraculously, she isn’t too far away from) then Angel City will finally find the match control they desperately need.
The timing couldn’t be better, either. Ertz has been tasked by USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski with earning her spot through her performances with her new team, adding even more motivation. Also, Sydney Leroux is progressing in her rehab and Christen Press is expected to return to the pitch sometime this season.
Getting everyone healthy and back on the pitch with Ertz would make Angel City a dangerous proposition in the playoffs.