Angel City FC battles OL Reign FC at Banc Stadium

Kidscoop Media Correspondent Solen Okemo is covering a soccer game from the booth of Band Stadium. (Michelle Mayans)

By Solen Okelo, age 10, KidScoop Media Correspondent

The weather was amazing and in the press box, there was a great view of the entire field and a more beautiful view of the skyline. Wow, what a great day for our home Angels to play to a sold out crowd of 22,000 spectators at Banc Stadium. It was like a sceneout of a movie. The buildings were literally in the perfect spot and they were perfectly shaped in a beautiful blue-orange dusk evening. The few clouds white and fluffy, were like cotton candy you could just jump in and take a bite. The food there was great and their pita bread was divine.

The mood was perfect as AFCS retired its no. 22 jersey in honor of former US Women’s National Team member Angela Hucles Mangano and its launch of the Player 22 Future Program, which was created to develop career opportunities for retired players.

In the first half ACFC was a dominating offensive force against OL Reign. First an early rebound charge by Cari Rocarro in the ninth minute landed inside the box over the goalie’s head, Soon after

in the 28th minute, ACFC’s Savannah McCaskills kicked the ball over the scored with a penalty kick so now it was 2-0. Then the ACFC goalie, DiDi Haracic made the play of the day when OL Reign FC was about to score and then DiDi Haracic blocked the kick and it bounced off her hands and saved OL Reign’s rebounded shot again. One other amazing play by DiDi was when she saved a PENALTY KICK by Reign’s Little!

In my opinion that was the play of the day. I have never seen anyone save a penalty kick so I thought it was impossible until I saw it here. OL Reign struggled to get a single goal after many attempts with focused control of the ball, ending the first half 2-0, with ACFC in the lead. Was this really going to be the story to Megan Repinoe’s team, who was not present for this match up due to a previous match red card suspension.

Sadly, ACFC’s good start ended with a rough close. While they scored twice and had the “fuego” in the first half, the second half revealed mentally an entirely different roster that just couldn’t keep up. They weren’t the underdogs, but their hearts played as if they were. And you believed it. They believed it. ACFC started struggling to gain posses- sion of the ball then, boom OL Reign scored, fired by Fishlock in the 54th minute! Now it’s 2-1. Repeatedly making attempts, they move close to the goal..boom! A second less exciting, but 20 yard goal by Reign’s Huerta tied the game at 2-2. ACFC was determined to score with 20 minutes left of the game but couldn’t gain control of the match. OL Reign sensed the struggle and their repeated attempts at the goal kept the lead. Eighty one minute in. Goal! Nice and fresh, substitute Tobin Heath put in the final nail.

Together, ACFC’s hopes and the fans’ hearts dropped, as OL Reign took the lead, the score now 2-3. OL Reign, keeping possession of the ball with less than ten minutes in the match, ran out the clock for the win.

The post match press conference was somber, ACFC Coach Coombe and Cari Roccaro entered the press room to represent the team. First I asked what the team could have done better in the second half? Cari Roccaro said, “I think we spent so muchenergy trying to get ahead inthe first half that we were so tired we could not keep up in the second half.” I followed up with the coach for her opinion, “What happened in the first half that changed in the second? The coach said “Well in the first half they were leaving little space for OL Reign to pass and in the second they did the opposite of that and left wide spaces to pass and score for OL Reign.” Angel City will have work to do moving forward. A strategy to turn around their 4-0 losses against OL Reign awaits them. The beautiful thing of the Angel’s journey, is that they left a lasting impression for a team who is in its first year of infancy. They entered the league as the underdog with a longer story to write.