LOS ANGELES — It was almost the best of both worlds for Angel City Football Club fans on Friday night.
Angel City (4-4-2) scored in the second minute and held the lead until late into stoppage time and was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Portland Thorns in front of 17,492 at Banc of California Stadium.
Portland’s Yazmeen Ryan scored the equalizer late into stoppage time to steal a point for the Thorns.
In the 64th minute, new addition Sydney Leroux came on as a substitute to replace Miri Taylor. Leroux, who starred in college at UCLA from 2008-2011 and went on to become a fixture with the U.S. women’s national team, was acquired on Wednesday in a trade with the Orlando Pride.
Leroux had been sidelined since June 3 with an ankle injury, but this wasn’t her first time playing at Banc of California Stadium this season. She scored the only goal in Orlando’s 1-0 victory over Angel City on May 8.
Her presence was cheered wildly throughout the night whenever she appeared on the video board before and during Friday’s match.
Angel City didn’t waste much time jumping on the scoreboard. Inside the first minute, forward Miri Taylor was fouled in the penalty area and the referee awarded Angel City with a penalty kick.
McCaskill’s first attempt was blocked by Portland goalkeeper Shelby Hogan, but she followed the rebound and scored for an early 1-0 lead.
That’s where the score remained heading into halftime.
Defensively, Angel City, even with a makeshift back line, held strong against the late Portland charge, until that final offensive charge of the game.
The teams met on June 3 with the Thorns winning, 3-0. They split their two meetings during the preseason Challenge Cup.
Both teams were limited due to either international call-ups or injuries.
Angel City went into the international break following a 1-0 loss to OL Reign (June 18).
Angel City was playing without Vanessa Gilles (Canada) and Allyson Swaby (Jamaica) for the CONCACAF Championships that begin Monday, Cari Roccaro and Madison Hammond were out due to the COVID-19 protocols and Simone Charley (Achilles) and Jasmyne Spencer (knee) were still out with injuries.
The starting lineup had a different look with Lily Nabet making her first start, along with Taylor and Clarisse LeBihan starting at forward.
With a short bench, Angel City had just six available subs and two were goalkeepers. The two goalkeepers were the only players not to enter the match.
Portland had six players out because of international obligations.
More to come on this story.