Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Experience and the impact of one terrifyingly skilled Rose Lavelle helped lead OL Reign past Angel City FC in their Challenge Cup match on Sun., March 27, at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. In just their second official game, Angel City were in the distressing position of being down two goals by the time midfielder Savannah McCaskill received a red card in the 31st minute. The blow made the task of coming back an improbable one, yet surprisingly the Los Angeles-based expansion club went toe-to-toe in possession and shots on goal.
OL struck first in the 12th minute with a piercing run from Lavelle who found Veronica Latsko unmarked in the box to confidently slot a shot past by ACFC keeper Dijana Haracic.
Six minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead with Lavelle once again instrumental in the build-up—she finds Brazilian national Angelina making a run up the line who then crosses it to centerback Alana Cook for a flicked header past the fingertips of Haracic.
Come second half, OL Reign made it three to go with Angelina notching a goal of her own. But all was not totally lost for Angel City as manager Freya Coombe made some effective substitutions, most notably bringing on winger Simone Charley in the second half. Charley and fan favorite Jasmyne Spencer made instant impact together, giving the home side some much-needed attacking energy. In the most promising play of ACFC's day, Spencer skillfully fends off two Reign defenders and finds Charley in the box, who then squares it to Tyler Lussi for a gratifying finish past Phallon Tullis-Joyce.
Being so early on in the club's existence, ACFC will be forgiven as they work out their kinks and improve on team chemistry. Coombe expressed as much post-match, insisting she was happy with how the team responded playing down to 10 for most of the match.
ACFC will need to regroup quickly as they go on the road for a midweek game against the Portland Thorns on Wed., March 30, at 7 p.m. in Providence Park. OL Reign will follow suit with their next match against the Thorns on Sat., April 2, at 7 p.m., also at Providence Park.