Angel City FC players celebrate after forward Alyssa scored during this matchup (Jevone Moore/L.A. Sentinel)

Despite having a strong start, the Angel City Football Club fell to NJ/NY Gotham FC 1-2 in their home opener. The 2023 first overall pick Alyssa Thompson scored the lone goal for Los Angeles.

Despite the loss, ACFC defender Ali Riley was elated by the energy of the sellout crowd at BMO Stadium.

“[Thompson] scoring, going up in that moment … seeing the representation in the crowd, the diversity, just what this club stands for,” Riley said. “There will always be bright moments when Angel City plays.”

ACFC forward Jun Endo (left) had a goal that she made retracted due to VAR (Jevone Moore/L.A. Sentinel)

Angel City started the game strong despite Gotham FC winning three free kicks in the first 10 minutes. Thompson scored. Thompson sent a right footed shot from the right corner to score at the 11th minute.

Related Stories

Pau Gasol Has Jersey Retired as Lakers Defeat Grizzlies

King/Drew Football Contend in Inaugural Season

“Our first 20 minutes, I thought we were great, we were moving the ball great,” said ACFC defender Sarah Gorden. “We can give some of that to our supporters because they really held it down for us.”

Four regulated minutes later, ACFC forward Jun Endo scored a goal, but it was overturned after a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) review. Angel City head coach Freya Coombe noted how the decision was “a learning moment” for the squad.

“I think we need to look at our experience of VAR tonight and learn from it,” Coombe said. “For many players on the team, it was their first exposure to VAR and their emotions.”

ACFC forward Simone Charley (Jevone Moore/L.A. Sentinel)

Coombe also was impressed with the gameplay of Endo in the matchup.

“I think she reads the game really well, she plays as a wing back for Japan, she can play left back,” Coombe said. “Her game understanding is incredible. She reads really good moments to press, to jump, to tuck in … I thought she had an unbelievable game tonight.”

Early in the second half, midfielders Savannah McCaskill and Katie Johnson along with goalkeeper DiDi Haračić received a yellow card. Four minutes later, Gotham FC forward Midge Purce tied the game with a goal.

At the 65th minute, forward Lynn Williams helped Gotham FC take the lead. Riley noted how Los Angeles gave Gotham FC too much space in defensive situations.

L.A. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and his family attended the matchup (Jevone Moore/L.A. Sentinel)

“I think when we didn’t get the VAR decision our way, we let down some momentum and that’s something we’re going to learn to be better,” Riley said. “When we take our foot off the pedal, every team in this league is gonna be good enough to punish you.”

The season opener brought out several notable celebrities including the club’s founder actor Natalie Portman, TV stars Tia and Tahj Mowry, singer Christina Augilera, and Super Bowl LVI champion quarterback Matthew Stafford of the L.A. Rams.

The ACFC will now travel to battle the Orlando Pride on April 2 at 2:30P.M.