(Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

Angel City FC will continue its postseason push without star defender Vanessa Gilles, with the Canadian international joining Olympique Lyonnais on loan.

The French club announced the news Monday, revealing that the 26-year-old would join Lyon on loan through June 30, 2023, ahead of the World Cup.

Angel City will retain Gilles’ rights and has extended her contract through December 2023.

“Being a part of Angel City this year has been an incredible experience, both on and off the pitch. The fans, my teammates, and the entire Angel City family have made representing this crest mean so much,” Gilles said in a statement. “Leaving before the end of the season was a very difficult decision to make both because we are in a run for playoffs, and because I have been injured and unable to contribute as much as I would have liked. It is very bittersweet.

“However, having the opportunity to go on loan to Lyon and compete in the Champions League among some of the best in the world has always been a dream of mine, and is one that I couldn’t pass up.”

Gilles has appeared in seven matches for Angel City, notching a goal and assist for the NWSL expansion club.

“We’ve been fortunate in our first year to attract world-class talent and players like Vanessa,” ACFC General Manager Angela Hucles Mangano said. “While her presence will be greatly missed, we feel that by extending her contract through December 2023 and retaining her rights, we are supporting her as a player in what we know is a dream opportunity for her.”

Gilles won Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games last summer with the Canadian national team before joining ACFC for its debut season following a four-year stint with FC Girondins de Bordeaux in France’s Division 1 Féminine.

The center-back’s absence will be felt as ACFC makes a postseason push. The club sits in fifth place with 31 points, and the top six teams make the playoffs.