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Home / Shawn Johnson East

LA’s women’s soccer team wins in regular-season debut

Angel City Football Club scored twice in the opening 13 minutes to defeat the North Carolina Courage, 2-1, Friday evening in its first regular-season game in front of a capacity crowd of 22,000 soccer fans at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Vanessa Gilles headed in a cross from Jun Endo in the third minute and Endo put a left-footed shot from the left side of the penalty area into the bottom right corner in the net off Savannah McCaskill’s long diagonal pass in the 13th minute.

Debinha ended DiDi Haracic’s bid for a shutout in the 51st minute when she headed in Emily Gray’s cross.

ACFC was outshot, 12-11. Both teams took four shots on goal. Haracic made three saves and Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland two in the first women’s professional soccer game in Los Angeles County since Aug. 22, 2009 when the Los Angeles Sol lost to Sky Blue FC, 1-0, in the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer Championship Game at the stadium then known as The Home Depot Center in Carson.

“I know it was just game 1, but I think it’s a moment I will never forget, and no matter what happens this season no one can ever take tonight away from us and this crowd,” ACFC defender Ali Riley said.

“To feel that, was unbelievable. I will never forget this.”

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman and Julie Uhrman, a media and gaming entrepreneur, were awarded the franchise in July 2020. The leading investor is tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian.

Other investors include actresses Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Gabrielle Union and Sophia Bush, singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera, singer Becky G, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast and “Dancing with the Stars” champion Shawn Johnson East; Olympic gold medal-winning skier Lindsey Vonn, former U.S. men’s soccer national team midfielder Cobi Jones, WNBA star Candace Parker, hockey star P.K. Subban and comedian Lilly Singh.

Retired U.S. women’s national soccer team members Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Abby Wambach, Joy Fawcett, Shannon Mac Millan, Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney Holiday, Lorrie Fair Allen, Angela Hucles Mangano, Tisha Venturini Hoch, Saskia Webber are also among the investors.

Angel City bills itself as “not just another football club.”

“We are building a different type of organization — where mission and capital come together,” the team said on its website. “Where you can feel our impact on and off the field. We were born on the streets of Los Angeles and stand side by side with our community.

“Football is our passion and the vehicle through which we speak to our community and passionate followers. Our purpose is to set higher expectations and it guides us to strive for better in everything we do. Our purpose unites us all as we soar higher together, every day.”

ACFC was 1-4-1 in the NWSL Challenge Cup tournament, finishing last in the four-team West Division and had a league-worst-equaling minus-seven goal differential. ACFC played its three home games in the tournament at Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton.

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