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Match Recap: Angel City 2, North Carolina Courage 1 | 4.21.24


Angel City 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.

“The win feels pretty awesome,” said goalkeeper DiDi Haračić. “The first three games started off rough, and I think this team is so resilient. This just shows our character and this blue-collar grit and work ethic that we have. Two in a row feels good. I’m a little upset that they scored—I would have liked a clean sheet—but it's all right, on to the next.”

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. 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 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 net and hang onto the lead.

“Everyone stepped up and I think that's what's huge,” said Haračić. “Anyone on this team, whenever they come in, or if they start, it doesn't matter. Everyone steps up and plays their role.”

This match marked defender Sarah Gorden’s 100th 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 Amazon Prime with radio broadcasts on iHeart and 980 AM La Mera Mera in English and Spanish, respectively.