(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: Thank you & Muchas Gracias to the Angel City Football Club front office and its player personnel department for making the off-season decision to acquire our Southern California raised talent, and now rising professional soccer star, Midfielder/Forward/#33/Katie Johnson. She has just set the NWSL record for scoring the latest goal ever, on the final play of a match in last Sunday’s dramatic win over the NJ/NY Gotham, that lasted the regulation (90:00) + (10:00) minutes of stoppage time.
Johnson, the former USC Trojan, and newly acquired forward, pulled a (2-1) victory out of what looked like an eventual (1-1) draw, when she was in the “right place at the right time.” But, in dramatic fashion, when the gold dust had settled on her tremendous “header” into the netting, she had delivered one of the most exciting scores of the day’s NWSL match schedule as well as for the young season.
Do read the ACFC Media Department’s press release to capture the write-up for the match. There’s also a great photo gallery, courtesy of the Club, available for your viewing enjoyment. The team now has a record of (1-1-0 = 3 points) and 6th place in the early NWSL Standings.
ANGEL CITY FOOTBALL CLUB DEFEATS ORLANDO PRIDE 2-1 WITH LATEST GAME WINNING GOAL IN NWSL HISTORY
ORLANDO (April 2, 2023) – Angel City Football Club (ACFC) earned their first win of the season today on the road against the Orlando Pride, following a penalty goal by forward Claire Emslie, an equalizer for Orlando by Messiah Bright, and a last-minute scoring effort by forward Katie Johnson. Johnson’s goal at (99:12) in the match is the latest game-winning goal in league history.
In the 9th minute, Orlando had a chance when midfielder Ally Watt stripped the ball off ACFC midfielder Dani Weatherholt, dribbled a few yards, and took a hard, angled shot from the edge of the 18. Goalkeeper DiDi Haračić dove to block the ball out at the far post for a corner kick.
ACFC opened the scoring in the 39th minute on a penalty kick. Midfielder Savannah McCaskill booted a long pass to forward Alyssa Thompson, who was brought down in the box by defender Emily Madril, and center ref Danielle Chesky pointed to the spot. Emslie stepped up to take the kick, the first of her NWSL career, and coolly slotted a low shot to the right as goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse dove left.
Orlando nearly got one back in first-half stoppage time when forward Adriana made a run up the right and fired off a shot from the right edge of the 18. Her attempt hit the far post and bounced to Watt, who sent her own shot wide.
[Photo Gallery Courtesy]: Angel City Football Club
In the 51st minute, forward Messiah Bright equalized for the home team. After receiving a short pass in the center of the field by midfielder Erika Tymrak, Bright charged centrally towards goal, muscled between defenders Sarah Gorden and Megan Reid, and sent her shot past Haračić.
A series of substitutions by both coaches shifted the game’s energy, with the two teams trading a number of chances on transition over the final 20 minutes of regulation time.
In the 67th minute, Emslie found Simone Charley making a run up the right with a long pass. Charley dribbled to the right of the penalty area and sent a sideways pass into the six for Weatherholt, who one-timed the ball just wide of the far post.
Orlando substitute Summer Yates had a look in the 72nd minute, receiving a low cross from Adriana on the right, but she sent her one-time shot over the crossbar.
The visitors were unlucky not to go up in the 86th minute, first when forward Scarlett Camberos, who made her NWSL and ACFC debut, mis-hit a close-range shot off a low cross by defender Ali Riley. Weatherholt pounced on the second ball and struck a shot into the forearm of defender Haley McCutcheon as she went to ground. ACFC were awarded the second penalty kick of the night, with Emslie again stepping up and sending her shot to the right—but this time, Moorhouse guessed correctly and saved.
ACFC notched the game-winner after 10 long minutes of stoppage time, when Emslie sent a corner kick to the near post. Midfielder Katie Johnson jumped above a scrum of defenders and got her head to the ball, sending it into the back of the net to give her team the go-ahead goal and the win.
ACFC plays next at home on Saturday, April 15th, against Racing Louisville FC. The match, scheduled for a &:00 pm kick-off, will air on CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) and internationally on NWSLSoccer.com. ###
Katie Johnson, ACFC Forward – Overall thoughts on the match: “Today was a battle being away, especially in their home opener. Their energy was really great. We had to match that to begin with. We really wanted to emphasize putting in a 90-minute match and today we showed that on the road, which was really important for us.”
On the goal and thoughts during the set piece during the corner: “We’ve been practicing our set pieces, putting in the work, and putting that away. I’ve been getting on the end of it at practice. Having the mentality of being able to finish it and score was what I was trying to do, and I was able to do that.”
On keeping up the pressure after intense moments of the game: “Our energy never died and doubt never entered our minds. Even when Savannah got the other penalty kick [which was overturned by VAR for an offside call], we kept attacking and never lowered our level. We kept going and going, and were able to finish it. I’m really proud of this group for doing that.”
Madison Hammond, ACFC Midfielder – Thoughts on the match:
“I think that we came out really hot. We wanted to really focus on matching our energy from the start of the game last week. Obviously, we weren’t able to get the result at home, which I think really stung. And so I think today it was just all about bringing a really high intensity to the game and I think we established that really early on.”
“We can now say that we can win ugly, and that’s really important in this league. Really big credit to K-Jo [Katie Johnson] for stepping in and coming off the bench. That is always really tough, but to come in and put the game on her back and just put it away for us was really awesome.”
“All of the people that came in off the bench were really big sparks of energy and I think that really helps, especially when you’re playing in Orlando humidity.
“I just think overall we can be really proud that we put our head down, did the really ugly stuff and we’re able to walk away with three points.”
On the transition into the defensive midfield position: “My transition into the defensive midfielder has been really fun for me. It’s definitely a project and I’m learning a lot from every game, but I think I’m just going in with the mindset of making big improvements every time I step into that position.
“Ultimately, my job is to facilitate so that people like Sav, Alyssa, Simone, and K-Jo can get on the ball and do what they do. So if I can do the gritty work and break that first line of pressure and just give it to them, then I’m really happy.”
Freya Coombe, ACFC Head Coach – Thoughts on the overall match: “I’m pleased with the fight that we had. It was a moment where it was going to be scrappy, and we went in there fighting and showed our desire while being relentless until the end—the final whistle. I’m really proud of the players and their ability to dig in tonight.”
On choosing Claire Emslie for tonight’s penalty kicks: “We have players compete for everything that we do. Claire has been competitive with taking penalties, and has been doing a great job, which is why she had that role this evening.”
On Scarlett Camberos’s debut performance: “For Scarlett coming in, it’s a very difficult place to play. She’s only been training for a short time with us. It’s important for us to get her integrated with the team as quickly as possible. There was a good opportunity to get minutes here tonight, and freshen up our front line. We were able to create a lot down her side, and now as she gets used to the NWSL, the transitional nature, the physicality, we’ll start to see a lot more from her.”
On message to the team after Orlando’s equalizer: “We learned a lot from that moment. In games there’s going to be shifts in momentum the whole time. In our last game we started strong, then the momentum shifted. We were able to weather the storm a little bit more [compared with last week], saw that the momentum shifted back, and put them under relentless pressure—through the penalty that I thought Savannah earned, but then was called offside in Katie Johnson’s movement. We were putting that pressure on them, which was good. At those times, we’ve just got to ride through that momentum.”
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