How do you reflect on the year that was here at Angels on Parade? Put simply, it was spectacular.
Angel City FC made their debut, one of two new NWSL teams in 2022, and judging by the buzz and support they received, with home games at The Banc being one of the things to do in Los Angeles, it was a rousing success. And by expansion team standards, it was a pretty good showing by ACFC, as a slew of injuries caused them to regroup repeatedly, but they were in the hunt for the playoffs up to the final weekend.
Orange County SC endured a tough season on the field, but the defending USL Championship champs in 2022 still had notable stories — selling Ronaldo Damus and Kobi Henry to European clubs, new forward Milan Iloski winning the league’s Golden Boot and being named to the All-League First XI, and oh yeah, waging a successful grassroots campaign to convince the City of Irvine not to kick them out of Championship Soccer Stadium next year.
And then there was LAFC. The black-and-gold rung in the changes ahead of the new season, and turned over the roster, arguably twice over the course of the campaign, but it was successful, as a star-studded roster won the Supporters’ Shield-MLS Cup double. The MLS Cup Final was immediately hailed as the best game in league history, and LAFC were pushed to the absolute brink in winning their first postseason championship.
Trebor Tracy and I posted well over 500 articles on this site in 2022, and my thanks to Trebor for his continued dedication, to our photographers Brenton Tse and Nikita Taparia, to SB Nation for keeping the lights on and their support, in particular to Jeremiah Oshan, to the teams for their help on matters large and small throughout the season, and most importantly to you, the readers, for your support. 2022 was the 12th year of this site, and it was without a doubt, the best to date.
Here’s a selection of some of our best work in 2022:
- Angel City FC: The club for all of LA: Trebor expresses his hopes, and his experience in men’s soccer fans in the city being hyped to see Angel City hit the field, and hopes it can lead to a new dimension in the city’s soccer fandom.
- This 1 simple trick helped Angel City FC win their 1st game at The Banc: A tongue-in-cheek (yet earnest) celebration of DiDi Haračić pulling out all the stops to win the spectacle that was ACFC’s first regular season game.
- The dream of Angel City FC has become a reality: Trebor’s reflections, alongside the team’s, after that NWSL opener at The Banc.
- I am begging American soccer leagues to ban illegible jersey numbers: Cool jerseys are cool and all, but 2022 featured a scourge of jersey numbers that could not be read for love or money off a screen, across all the major American leagues.
- The story behind Orange County SC’s sale of Kobi Henry? ‘There was a concrete plan’: Henry’s transfer to Reims broke a USL record for an outgoing sale at the time, and after the deal was done, Henry, OCSC and agent Brad Friedel discussed the process.
- Dear LAFC, Don’t do it: Chicho Arango’s future with the black-and-gold: After hearing perplexing rumors for months that LAFC were planning to ship their leading scorer out, Trebor says it out loud — the team needs him. And boy, was he right!
- LAFC’s summer transfer window was an absolute whirlwind: MLS has never seen a team be as high-profile and as prolific as LAFC was in the summer of 2022. Signing big names and winning titles made it a successful gambit, but one that most teams won’t be able to replicate wholesale.
- Orange County SC get ‘guarantee’ of return to Championship Soccer Stadium in 2022: When the LA Galaxy attempted to take OCSC’s home out from under them, it rankled quite a few in the American soccer community, and after a campaign to ensure Irvine City officials knew how lowdown their eviction threat truly was, enough people in charge backtracked and ensured OCSC will stay in place for another year, with renewed commitments to work together moving forward. It was a happy ending to what may have been a catastrophic story.
- Everyone, including NWSL players, deserves dignity at work: The Yates Report was a devastating, if necessary, accounting of the many failures in enabling sexual misconduct and abusive behavior in women’s soccer throughout the NWSL’s history. My thoughts coming out of it.
- When LAFC needed it, Carlos Vela has evolved: Vela has been LAFC’s talisman and played a key role in the double season, to be sure, but he also adjusted in his role and mindset to ensure he could lift the trophies at the end.
- USL Super League president on calendar, hopes for interleague competitions: The NWSL came to California in 2022, but a second-tier league, the USL Super League, is scheduled to launch soon and we spoke to Amanda Vandervort about the expectations for the new circuit.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!