(East Los Angeles, CA.) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The match theme was timely and appropriate on the 2023 International Women’s Day. The still cold and wintery 51° degree night-time weather here in the City, County, and Region did not put a damper on the crowd expectation for this pre-season, “International Friendly” / “Northern Neighbor to Southern Neighbor” match between Club América Feminil, MX and the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) Angel City Football Club (ACFC) getting a start on this timely conceived and scheduled early pre-season competition.
[Pre-Match Activities]: ACFC presented its usual entertaining “Fan Fest” event for those early arriving fans some (4) hours prior to the match. Take a good note that during Fanfest, fans are able to Tailgate on Christmas Tree Lane on select match days and enjoy discounted drinks, food trucks, an ACFC spirit zone, sponsor games, prizes, and live DJ music.
There were also special invited guests in the BMO house that were introduced to all of the fans. This included the UCLA Women’s Soccer Team, crowned last December as the NCAA-Division 1 National Champions; the Los Angeles Chargers’ Linebacker, Kenneth Murray, Jr. and Cornerback, #43/Michael Davis and his family.
And seated early for the match inside the newly christened BMO Stadium, the visiting Club América Feminil fanbase located in the South east corner, was quite vocal and cheerful about supporting their “Paisanas” in this much-welcomed International Women’s Day “Friendly/Partido Amistoso” Soccer match.
[1st HALF]: ACFC managed to quickly delight its fans just (4:40) into the match with its first goal of the 2023 season. And it couldn’t have been better scripted than what #21/Alyssa Thompson, the young #1 draft pick decided to show. Near midfield she gathered a pass and then displayed a great open field skill in which she shed the pack of three Club América defenders, beat two with her speed, and then beat her lone defender, winning the 20 yard dash to the left side of the goal. Club América’s goalkeeper, Itzel González could only watch Thompson coming very rapidly toward her, and with one feint of her shoulders, perfect footwork, and a skilled control of the ball, the (18) year-old completely dazzled González who could only respond with an awkward attempt to block the attack. It was in vain, as Thompson, simply got into the clear and then put up her historic first goal, some 5 yards past Gonzalez for a clean shot on goal. To Thompson’s situational awareness efforts and credits, she sized up her scoring play nicely and quickly, took a good measured aim, and then kicked a sharply angled bullet into the net for her first professional career goal.
At the (30:00) minute mark, Thompson was on the attack again, this time taking a perfect lead pass in stride. After gaining control she then bore down on goalkeeper, Itzel González, but tried to blast her with a shoulder high kick to her left. However, the goalie timed it perfectly for the save. Meanwhile, ACFC’s goalkeeper, DiDi Haračić (clad in pink) was busy herself with several saves and blocks against the Club América front line of forwards. Late in the period, Haračić went down to the Bermuda grass after a collision with her teammate that caused her to lose her breath. She took a minute or two, composed herself, and was ready to go again. To prove this, she made the last save before the end of the half.
[HALFTIME SCORE]: Angel City 1 Club América 0
[2nd HALF]: The majority of fans had not yet returned to their seats when the ACFC took their 2nd half “kick-off” seriously and exploited Club América’s left flank for an opening. And with her phenomenal playing instincts, Alyssa Thompson expertly found midfielder #10/Claire Emslie, alone and behind the Club’s defensive wall. From there she took the ball for a “one-on-one” dribble and lock-up with González, the Mexican goalkeeper, and easily pushed it past her into the unguarded goal for a (2-0) lead.
At minute (56:00), ACFC kept the action coming hard and fast as they notched their second goal of the match this time on a floundering ball that stayed in front of the net. Midfielder, #14/Paige Nielsen was right there to collect it and then bash it into the netting. ACFC 2, Club America 0.
Then at the 84th minute, reserve, #7/Simone Charley, looked to transition upfield, but then a rapid steal and a perfect lead pass was made to her going downfield. This created a classic 1-on-1 with the goalie being the only defender in front of her. Charley patiently waited, then calmly took aim and shot an easy grounder into the unguarded netting for the score.
With the game clock winding down to the final five minute mark, the match’s outcome was academic and the Angel City Football Club took a lot of satisfaction in posting the International Friendly” win before the enthusiastic and happy crowd of 15,021.
[FULL-TIME SCORE]: Angel City 3 Club América 0 [ATTENDANCE]: 15,021
[SIGNIFICANT IMPRESSIONS]: Youth must be served is the axiom that always tends and trends to ring true, no matter what sport or life discipline you follow. And so it was, on a perfect night for the teen-ager from Harvard-Westlake High School, home the Wolverines, who spent her morning in English class, went home and then began to prepare for her debut in the NWSL and with her teammates. There appears to be no limits of her rising to new heights as a world-class player. Glad she will be here to perform for us as a member of the Angel City Football Club.
“PLAYER OF THE MATCH” – #21/Alyssa Thompson/1st Year
[NEXT UP]: Sunday, 3/26, NWSL Season opener vs. NY/NJ Gotham. Kick-off is set for 6:00 PM. Tickets are available but moving swiftly.