(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: On a very warm 85° Fall afternoon, Soccer was in the air and everywhere, especially in East L.A. and Beyond, due to the fact that our City’s first professional Women’s soccer team, the Angel City Football Club (ACFC), was playing in a National Women’s Soccer league (NWSL) match against Racing Louisville FC near the Expo Park/Coliseum area, at the fantastic Banc of California Stadium.
But getting back to the many Barrios of East L.A. and Beyond, our young female student-athletes, from hundreds of local travel clubs to high school aged students, who compete within the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD), and overseen by the CIF/L.A. City Section Administrative Office/for Sports, are very eager to see Women’s Professional soccer take root in our City and, perhaps raise their dreams of some day playing at this level in this ever-growing global sport.
The same can be said for Girls’ soccer high school programs in the private and parochial sectors. Many of these players from both disciplines were in attendance to watch Angel City FC play in their final regular season match. We all know that the Boys high school soccer teams have been well-programmed into their seasons over the years, but keep your eye on the Girls’ Divisions within the LAUSD.
And, in a very collaborative effort, the ACFC will be doing future community outreach events in the City, County, and much of Southern California. Last thought, the Club is extremely excited and very thankful that its attendance has been steadily growing since their first match at Banc of California Stadium back on April 29th.
[1st Half]: It didn’t take long for Angel City to get on the scoreboard. With the full-on attack mode green light urged on by Head Coach, Freya Coombe, the select field ten went to work on finding the first flaw in their opponents back-line. Sure enough, with timely precision and a stroke of just good, plain luck, ACFC’s top striker, Forward, #18/Jun Endo, took aim from the 18 yard box, fired it on goal, but it ricocheted off teammate, Midfielder, Savanah McCaskill and right into the netting for the first score of the match. It came at the (14:00) minute mark and the crowd let loose a very high 75+ decibel volume and a long, thunderous roar of approval.
However, the defense let its guard down at the 40th minute, and Louisville, scored with their counter-attack efforts and tied the match at (1-1) when #27/Kirsten Davis maneuvered herself into the clear and rocketed a left-footer in to the goal, past a diving Didi Haračić.
Then, on a Yellow Card issued to Angel City’s Paige Nielson, who fouled her opponent inside the Box, Louisville was given a direct penalty kick at the 43rd minute and #27/Alex Chidiac then calmly and affirmatively targeted it into the netting on the right side of Goalkeeper, Haračić, who calculated it was going to her left. This moved the score to (2-1).
At the (45:00)+ Stoppage time marker, the crowd roared in gushing approval when they believed that the ACFC had tied the match with a rebounded shot right in front of the goal. However, the whistle had blown or the flag had been waved by the sideline referee, that it was “off-sides” on ACFC. The call was overturned, and NO goal was recorded.
[HALFTIME SCORE]: Racing Louisvillle FC 2 ACFC 1
[2nd Half]: With her team showing no consistent attack mode, ACFC Coach Coombe, inserted #7/Symone Charley into the match at the 59th minute for #3/Jasmyne Spencer. The score was still (2-1) Louisville and the crowd welcomed Charley’s presence in the match, hoping she could immediately apply her scoring skills and tie the match.
The offensive struggle continued on for the rest of the match and ACFC simply could not muster enough corner kicks or shots on goal. Then at the 80th minute, Endo was fouled and ACFC was given a penalty from just above the 18 yard box but at an angle. Coach Coombe called upon #10/Claire Emslie to take the shot and she rifled a long curve towards Louisville’s goalkeeper, #1/Katie Lund, who blocked it at the far post.
A few minutes later, another shot was taken but it was once again blocked by Lund. Another ACFC corner kick came at the 83rd minute, but it was deflected outward to midfield.
As the match’s end was nearing, a third Louisville goal was registered by forward, #19/Emina Ekic at the 90+ minute stoppage time, who put up the goal sealing the victory. The “1-2” punch came from its wing to its striker who then booted a perfect line drive into the back corner of the netting for the final goal of the match.
[Of Significance]: Only the Top 6 teams will qualify for the NWSL playoffs. Angel City (8-8-5) can still move into 6th place and make the playoffs with a win in their final game next weekend if the North Carolina Courage draws or loses in their final match against the San Diego Wave. That match will be played on Friday, September 30th. ACFC’s last in-season game is against the Chicago Red Stars, (8-7-6) next Sunday, October 2nd, at 3:00 pm| PST. Watch the match “Live” on Paramount +
[FULLTIME SCORE]: Racing Louisville FC 3 ACFC 1
[ATTENDANCE]: 22,121 (Sold-Out)*
ACFC Midfielder Savannah McCaskill
On how the team is absorbing where they are after the loss:
“It’s really important for us to regroup as a team. That was our fifth game in two weeks, so it’s extremely important for everyone to digest this and then be able to move past it. It’s in the past, we can’t do anything about it.”
“We need to make sure that we get ourselves healthy and ready to go again. We still have a job to do. We’re going at it as if we need to go in on Sunday and get the win. We have to focus on ourselves and do whatever we can to go into Chicago healthy with everyone ready to go.”
On having to rely on another team’s destiny after being in control before tonight:
“At the end of the day, San Diego could lose on Saturday, and we could go and beat Chicago on Sunday, but it wouldn’t matter because they lost. We have to go at it as if San Diego is going to win, so we have to prepare like we’re going to go in and get a job done. We’re still in control of that.”
“This wasn’t our best performance as a team. That’s a really big learning moment for us as a club. When we are in these tough moments we have to show up and perform. We can’t rely on what we did in previous games.”
“Due to our performances, the last few games have been really good regardless of the result. Tonight we dropped it. As players we have to look into the mirror and see what we could have done better. That’s a really huge learning moment for us as players going forward in our careers.”
On being behind at halftime, and the mindset coming into the second half:
“We addressed the fact that it wasn’t our best performance defensively in the first half. We dominated on offense, and had really good combinations. We were keeping possession well, but we gave them opportunities. We weren’t getting the ball back well enough. We addressed that as a group going into the second half and knew that we had a job to do. We had to do whatever it took to try to get that job done. Ultimately, we weren’t able to do that, but everyone was willing to do whatever it took and whatever they could do to get the result.”
“No one gave up, which was really encouraging as a group and that’s who we are as a club. It’s really important to see in those moments that even though we go down by a goal or two, we were still fighting. We were still pushing as a collective and that’s really huge to take away.”
ACFC Head Coach Freya Coombe
On the turnaround for the next game:
“We need to take the lessons from this game and move forward quickly. We will focus on making sure that we do those things well in Chicago. We have two well-deserved rest days, which the players haven’t had in a long time.”
On game atmosphere:
“The fans are the best in the league by far. Not just in terms of the volume, but in terms of the quality and noise. Although the atmosphere makes it really difficult to get information onto the field at times, it’s because the fans provide such an amazing environment.”
“I’m so proud to be a part of the club with a fan base representing the community in the way that we do. It’s incredible. I have never been a part of a club with such an atmosphere with so much engagement. It’s not just on match day, it’s everyday. The passion is incredible, it’s infectious, and I really hope that continues next year.”
On team standards:
“I think there are standards the team has for themselves that are different from the standards that I set. The big thing is, the leaders within the team have been very clear in setting their standards, and that has even more weight when it’s coming from the player’s expectations. We have put in great performances this year because they met the standards and the values of the team.”
“We are the team that never gives up, and I think we revealed that tonight. It’s important for us when we come together as a team especially when the leadership is showcased from the players. They have been able to maintain that throughout the year and I am very proud of their participation and how they have led the team. Despite many ups and downs, we have faced adversity as a group, but we’ve never wavered from who we are as a team representing the club.”