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 Angel City FC

Angel City Football Club Defeats North Carolina Courage in Front of Sold out Home Crowd

April 21, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Angel City FC News Release

LOS ANGELES - Angel City Football Club (ACFC) beat the North Carolina Courage 2-1 at home tonight on the strength of a brace by forward Claire Emslie. Courage forward Tyler Lussi notched the lone goal for the Courage in front of a sold out crowd at BMO Stadium.

The early part of the game was relatively uneventful, with the Courage holding onto the majority of possession while Angel City maintained their shape, keeping the visitors out of the center of the pitch. The game started to open up around the 15th minute, with Courage forward Ashley Sanchez getting a look in the 17th minute that she sent wide.

But it was Angel City who got on the board first, in the 22nd minute. After receiving a through ball by midfielder Rocky Rodríguez, forward Alyssa Thompson was fouled by a North Carolina defender just outside the 18 yard box. Emslie stepped up to take the resulting free kick, which she curled over the Courage wall and inside the right post. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy correctly dove to her left, but had little chance of stopping the curving shot.

Another excellent goal by Emslie doubled the lead for Angel City in the 54th minute. The sequence began with midfielder Lily Nabet tapping a short forward pass to Thompson in midfield, who found a pinpoint through ball into the path of Emslie's run. Emslie beat the two remaining defenders and sent a chip arching over Murphy's head and into the back of the net.

The Courage pulled one back in the 73rd minute. A free kick by defender Feli Rauch fell to the far side of the six yard box, where forward Tyler Lussi one-timed it into the back of the net from point-blank range.

The home team came within inches of a third goal in the 78th minute when Thompson blocked an errant goal kick by Murphy, heading it down into the run of forward Messiah Bright. As Thompson sprinted into the box, Bright sent a diagonal pass back to Thompson, whose shot went just wide of the right post.

North Carolina had a near-miss of their own in the 83rd minute when forward Ashley Sanchez dribbled into the box from the right wing to put an angled left-footed attempt on target- but goalkeeper DiDi Haračić jumped to claim the shot.

ACFC put on a gritty defensive performance over 10 minutes of added time to keep the ball out of the back of the opposing net and hang onto the lead.

This match marked defender Sarah Gorden's 100th NWSL career appearance, as well as the 100th start for defender Jasmyne Spencer.

Angel City is at home again this Friday, April 26, against Kansas City Current at 7:00 p.m. That match will stream on Prime Video with radio broadcasts on iHeart and 980 AM La Mera Mera in English and Spanish, respectively.

ACFC Milestones

Defender and Vice Captain Sarah Gorden made her 100th NWSL career regular season match appearance. She's the 89th player in league history to reach this milestone.

Veteran defender Jasmyne Spencer made her 100th NWSL career regular season start. She is the 64th player in league history to reach this milestone.

Forward Claire Emslie earned her first NWSL career brace, scoring one goal in the 23', followed by another in the 54'.


ACFC Forward, Claire Emslie

On scoring a brace:

"It was nice. Honestly, the best thing was just winning the game. It doesn't really matter if you score and if you don't win. Thanks to the girls for defending."

Walking through the second goal:

"I remember Alyssa getting the ball and I knew there was spacing behind. She looked up, we caught eyes, it was a perfect ball from her. I knew the keeper was tall and I thought, I know she's off her line. So I took a touch and tried to score. I practice it in training and kind of mess around doing it all the time. I was happy to see it go in the net."

On holding on for the 10 extra minutes of stoppage time:

"It's so much credit to the subs that came on. It's a hard game to come into. That's our biggest strength, is how together we are as a team. For everyone to come in and do their role means so much for the group and it paid off tonight."

ACFC Defender and Vice Captain Sarah Gorden

On her 100th career NWSL appearance:

"One hundred appearances mean a lot. It makes me reflect on where I started, my time in Chicago, and now being in LA. It is just great to get the win on a night like this."

On the team's effort to put in a complete performance:

"We've been wanting to put in a full performance and obviously, we felt like we didn't have as much of the ball as we wanted to, especially when you're down a goal in the second half, that's typically how it is especially against a team like North Carolina. It was really just about keeping the energy high and keeping everyone in the game until the end and I really think we did that. I'm really proud of the group."

On her partnership with defender Jasmyne Spencer:

"Jas is a veteran and it's great to play with her because she's so composed. She knows what she's doing. She's great on the ball. She's smart defensively. And we kind of just get each other. I feel like she knows where I'm going when I'm dribbling. She knows the spot to be in and so she held it down until the end of the game. It's really special to be able to play with the 175 cap. She's our OG."

On her appreciation of the fans who support the team:

"I just wanted to say, obviously a lot has happened for our team this week. It's been a pretty emotional week for everyone. I just want to give a shout out to the fans and to the people that are here to ride for the players that we have here that are really down for us. We really appreciate your support for those who truly believe in us and are here for the ride. We put everything into this every single day, every single week. And so for those who believe in us, we are going to keep giving you everything we have and we appreciate your support."

ACFC Head Coach Becki Tweed

On getting the first home win of the season:

"Being on the road for three games is tough and obviously getting back in front of our fans and being able to get three points is huge. I think you can see the joy on everybody's face. There's nothing better than feeling that support. We feel truly so grateful for all the support from the fans that came out today and I'm just glad we could give them a performance and three points."

On how the team handled North Carolina's possession-heavy style of play:

"I think anytime you play North Carolina, they have a true identity. You know what they're going to try to do. They want to have the ball, they want to play in this fluid shape where there's always rotation. And with that I think comes the defending in transition piece for them. We knew that we could hurt them in spaces where their fullbacks were potentially out of position, in the sense that they invert or they get really high, so just attacking that space in behind the fullbacks."

"You want to talk about data, and the only point of data that really matters at the end of the game is, what's the result? I think we knew in this game that we would concede some possession and I think that's something that we haven't had to do so far this season. We've been in control of games in terms of possession, but every opponent is different and we've prepared for every opponent."

On rookie defender Madison Curry's performance:

"She's a real competitor. She just plays with such calmness, competitiveness. I think [there aren't] many people that need to get stitches at halftime and you don't even know that that happened to them. That's just a testament to who she is, as a player and as a person. She's willing to do the hard work Monday to Friday, and when the opportunity came around, she really took it. What we're building towards is these players that can step in at any moment and these players that will step up and bring competition every single day."

On forward Claire Emslie's performance:

"Two great finishes from Claire. I think you look at our first five games and she's just produced. We ask a lot of our wingers, and I looked at her and I'm like, 'yeah, she's given everything in this moment.' She's just coming into our own in terms of consistency, and we need consistency from our frontline. She just competes every single day in practice. She doesn't score those free kicks by not spending ball after ball after ball hitting mannequins, getting frustrated- that's a product of hard work from her."

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