For the last time as 2022 comes to an end, we take a look back at the incredible inaugural season for Angel City FC. We once again are asking for your help, this time in deciding who should walk away with MVP honors for the 2022 season. There were plenty of memorable moments made, and several standout performances from the team’s first-ever NWSL season, but only one can take home the honor.
Defender Vanessa Gilles may have scored the first regular season goal in team history, as well as the first goal at The Banc, but it was midfielder Savannah McCaskill who scored the very first goal ever scored by Angel City FC. The goal came during the NWSL Challenge Cup, with the team playing at Cal State Fullerton before making their regular season debut in their permanent home. McCaskill was just getting started though, as she finished the season with a team-high eight goals. She also had two assists, a 70% pass success rate, and even made an impact defensively with 13 interceptions and 18 clearances. Midfield is usually viewed as what connects the defense with the offense, and McCaskill did a really solid job of doing just that throughout 2022. With chemistry only improving within the squad, expect an even bigger season in 2023.
One player who absolutely stood out all season, Tyler Lussi, was one of a couple attackers- turned-defenders for the 2022 season at Angel City. By now we all know the story with injuries, and Lussi was tasked with trying out a new role to help cover where needed. To say she did a job is a massive understatement. With 16 starts, Lussi amassed 46 interceptions, 43 clearances and kept a 64% tackle success rate. She even found herself on the scoresheet during the NWSL Challenge Cup, proving once again, shooters shoot. While it remains to be seen whether Lussi will move back to the attack for 2023 or if she’s found her new position. Either way, its always a great feeling knowing you have a player who's already proven they can do it all.
Claire Emslie joined Angel City in the middle of the season and her impact was immediate. Very rarely do players settle into new teams and new environments the way Emslie did. Just watch the video above, her first match with the club she scored her first goal, one that ended up being the match winner against the club's fellow expansion side and rivals, San Diego Wave FC. It meant that much more considering at the time ACFC were riding that line between being a playoff team and staying home for the postseason. Emslie’s arrival was the catalyst that sparked a decent run that saw Angel City in the playoff fight right up until the final match day.
Unfortunately, it was not to be this season, but that doesn't take away from the impact Claire had on the squad. In her 10 appearances she scored three times, kept a 67% pass success rate, played eight key passes and even got in on the defending with nine clearances and two interceptions. While it may have been a brief introduction, it was enough of a first impression to fuel that sense of hope. That feeling that, if this team can stay healthy, we’ll be seeing a lot of Emslie not just scoring but setting up the likes of Christen Press. That should be a lot of fun.
There you have it. Three players who had standout years for a club that seemed to standout itself all season. It is now up to all of you to decide who you think should take home the honor of 2022 Angel City MVP?
2022 Angel City FC MVP
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