[Backgrounder]: Bringing the first-ever million-dollar prize pool to U.S. women’s soccer, UKG, a leading provider of HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people, and the NWSL made history on April 19th when the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup kicked off.
In its first year as the tournament’s title sponsor, UKG aims to not only bring pay equity to the world of professional sports, but also to shed light on the need for continued commitment by employers across every industry to focus on achieving equity of opportunity and equity of pay for women and other underrepresented groups.
(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The UKG Challenge Cup match arrived with Angel City (0-0-0) hosting the OL Reign (0-0-0) on a midweek 4/19, Wednesday night at BMO Stadium.
[1st HALF]: To immediately start the action of the match, Forward, #21/Alyssa Thompson took two shots from her left forward spot, but on her first attempt she could not fire a highly propelled shot on goal. Her next shot was very similar to her first, but with a much clearer view of the target. And although it was with increased velocity on the ball, her shot was blocked by OL Reign’s goalie, #30/Claudia Dickey.
Finally at the (29:00) minute mark, ACFC started a left wing attack with #16/Mary Alice Vignola at the controls. She was flying solo and did her best to take a decent 15 yard angled shot on goal, but missed it wide right. OL Reign came back with their chance to attack but their shot attempt was cleared by Angel City.
OLR’s first downed player on the pitch was #5/Quinn, who was shaken up at the (42:00) minute mark, when ACFC’s midfielder, #29/Clarisee LeBihan collided with her. The medical unit came out to attend and after administering to her for a few minutes, she was able to walk off the pitch. Play resumed with (3:00) minutes of stoppage time added to the period by Referee, Anya Voight.
[HALFTIME SCORE]: Angel City 0 OL Reign 0
[2nd HALF]: There wasn’t much to discern advantage-wise from the match up to this point. It was a 50-50 situation both ways. Then the Coaches began their prescribed multiple substitution patterns. First, at minute (63:00) it was Head Coach Freya Coombe who subbed Thompson out and #9/Savannah McCaskill in. OL Reign subs were loudly cheered on at 60th minute with their big named National Team and star player, #15/Megan Rapinoe running onto the pitch to check in. Then at minute (64:00) Forward/#9/Jordyn Huitema. struck gold for OLR when she beat ACFC goalkeeper, Brittany Isenhour, who was stationed at the top of the 18 yard Box. Isenhour apparently was unaware that Huitema was approaching her for a battle on the ball, and while attempting to clear it downfield, she slipped and fell, thus allowing Huitema to gather herself and the sphere for an uncontested goal. Score was now, OLRFC 1, ACFC 0.
At minute (74:00) on a #15/Scarlett Camberos one-bounce “header” attempt from 5′ away and to right of goal, she missed. However, during the shot, she collided with a defender, who was then removed from the match. After play resumed, the Reign drove the distance of the pitch and managed to score on corner kick from Rapinoe that was perfectly centered for a teammate to make a play. Midfielder #10/Jess Fishlock was there to meet it and make her attempt, but it was deflected off of the back of #29/LeBehan and into the goal for a score. She was designated with an “own goal” that went into the back of the netting at the 77th minute for the goal, giving OLR the (2-0) lead. A total of (5:00) minutes Stoppage time was added by Referee.
[FULL TIME SCORE 90:00 + 5:00]: OL Reign FC 2 Angel City Football Club 0 [ATTENDANCE]: 10,021
[MATCH STAT SNAPSHOT]: Total Shots/ACFC (14-9); Shots on Goal/ACFC (7-3); Corner Kicks/OLR (6-3); Saves/OLR ( 7-2); Possession/ACFC (52.3%) – OLR (47.7%).
[NEXT UP]: NWSL Regular Season and first rivalry match vs. San Diego Wave, Sunday, April 23rd, at 5:00 pm. To watch, go to Paramount+
[NEXT CHALLENGE CUP MATCH]: OL Reign will play host to Angel City in their Group B standing, on Wednesday, May 3rd. Watch on Paramount +