(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The beautiful Spring Sunday afternoon blanketed our City of the Angels with the warm rays of the sun. So much so, that it continued shining onto the immaculate green pitch at BMO Stadium in anticipation of the scheduled 5:00 pm Angel City Football Club’s, fifth home National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) match of the still young season.
[PRE-MATCH REVIEW]: The special match highlight celebrated Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM), with performances and the ceremonial three-clap performed by Olympic Gold Medalist Chloe Kim. The Kansas City Current came into the City of the Angels with a (2-3-0), valued at 6 points, and the ACFC record was (1-2-2) good for 5 points. A win would move them into the overall 4th place standing in the NWSL. The near-sold out crowd was extremely anxious for the match to begin and the North End fan base was in high adrenaline mode, with their drum corps making itself heard, but not quite coupled with a rhythmic and distinct chanting form. That will certainly be on their “To Do” list as the season progresses onward. [REFEREE]: Tori Penso
[1st HALF]: The first 15:00 minute phase of the encounter was not much for hard-core action in what could best be compared to a light sparring match with Angel City FC gaining the advantage due to a Corner Kick at the (11:00) minute marker.
But in the blink of an eye, at minute (18:00) a Yellow Card was issued against ACFC’s midfielder, #9/Savannah McKaskill by Referee Penso. It quickly drew loud boos of disapproval from the boisterous and yet anxious crowd.
From minute (20:00-22:00) two medium strength frontal attacks were attempted by ACFC but were turned away easily by the defense. A shot on goal was trapped like a shortstop by goalkeeper #38/Cassie Miller. At minute (27:00) another Corner Kick was taken by ACFC but nothing concrete resulted again.
Then at minute (31:00), the “young one”, #21/Forward, Alyssa Thompson, took matters in hand (and foot) after taking a sweeping long forward pass from Claire Emslie. She did the rest on the attack with a fantastic “1-on-1” left-right feint, leaving her defender flat-footed, as she prepared for a shot on goal around 15 feet away. With that opening and expert timing, she took a narrow, but slicing shot from the near left-side sideline and managed to perfectly angle, and simultaneously arc it into the netting for the first score of the match. Tons and waves of fervent applause rained down on the Rookie. At the (31:00) minute mark, the BMO scoreboard lighted up indicating ACFC 1 – Kansas City 0.
At the 42nd minute, it was another close frontal assault with #10/Claire Emslie spreading to the outer flank when Jun Endo found her with a crosser just to the right-front of the goal. Emslie found it, gathered it and then booted it in for the second goal of the match.
Not to be outdone, in the first minute of four given to stoppage time by Referee Penso, Endo then treated the happy crowd to their third, screaming with joy, goal for a (3-0) lead. The goal was immediately followed by ACFC’s players performing their soon to become standard “Soccer ‘Snow’ Angels” celebratory goal move by dropping to the pitch and performing it in unison.
For the powerful and well-played first period, on the defensive side of the ball, Angel City FC was adamant with their statement of not allowing more than three shots on goal. At minutes (34:00) and (40:00), the crowd roared its loud and strong approval of great stops and saves by goalkeeper, #13/DiDi Haračić.
[HALF-TIME SCORE]: Angel City FC 3 Kansas City Current 0
[2nd HALF]: The momentum then began to turn for Kansas City as they mounted two quick scoring drives. The first came at the (57:00) minute mark, when #18/Izzy Rodriguez found the back of the netting for a goal. The scoreboard now showed, LAFC 3 KCFC 1. Over the next 3 minutes, the Current began to assert themselves with a sustained attack on Heračić as they took good aim, this time by #5/Cece Kizer, who blasted in a goal from mid-range for their 2nd score. It apparently was now a new match at (3-2) as KC drew to only within 1 goal of a tie with plenty of time left in the match.
At the (68:00) minute mark, Head Coach Freya Coombe thinking of getting “fresh” legs into the match, subbed #15/Scarlett Camberos for Claire Emslie and #33/Katie Johnson into the match for Alyssa Thompson respectively. She subsequently subbed in Mary Alice Vignola for Jun Endo at the 86th minute, Lily Nabet for Paige Nielsen at the 87th, and finally Jasmyne Spencer at minute (90:00) for Ali Riley to start the Stoppage period of time. All of those moves by Coach Coombe, solidified the defense to close out the Current for the victory.
[FULL-TIME SCORE]: Angel City FC 3 Kansas City Current 2. [ATTENDANCE]: 19,219
[OF SIGNIFICANCE]: 1st Half – great teamwork, hustle, set-up passing, and huge crowd-pleasing scoring. 2nd Half – a slight, but noticeable let-up in the team’s late-game defensive intensity nearly cost them an outstanding offensive performance for the highly-appreciative fanbase present.
[NEXT UP]: Washington Spirit, Saturday, May 15th at 7:00 pm. To watch go to Paramount+