By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Sports Editor
Anyone who doubts Los Angeles is firmly a soccer town need look no further than the inaugural regular season match for Angel City Football Club on Friday.
The new expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League sold out the cavernous Banc of California Statium – also home to LAFC of Major League Soccer – and wasted no time putting a charge into the game and their fans.
Forward Jun Endo rifled a cross from the corner into the box for defender Vanessa Gilles, who headed in the first goal of ACFC’s 2-1 win over the visiting North Carolina Courage.
In the 10th minute, Endo received a pass on the left side, streaked up the wing and sliced through three defenders to bounce a shot past the keeper for what proved to be the winning sccore.
“The great support of many fans has helped us a lot,” she said on the field, after being named the Player of the Match. “I hope you will continue to support the team to win.”
Last year, ACFC signed the 21-year-old Endo, who was a member of Japan’s Olympic and World Cup squads.
The game itself is an achievement after more than a decade without women’s professional soccer in California.Angel City FC announced its entry into NWSL two years ago, with its majority female ownership, including Serena Williams, Billy Jean King, Candace Parker, Mia Hamm, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria.