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Gotham Falls to Current


J.J. Pavlick

The highly anticipated matchup between Gotham FC and the Current is finally here, which Brazilian superstar will stand out today Debinha or Bruninha? Gotham comes in having won both of its league matches since beating North Carolina in the Challenge Cup. Gotham while solid defensively this season has struggled at times in the final third leaving many solid chances on the table, creating numerous one-goal games for the side. First, the stellar defense of Gotham has been a major improvement from last season in which they gave up goals like a leaking faucet loses water. However, against OL Reign two highly skilled ball handlers in Rosie Lavelle and Jen Fishlock dominated the backline and midfield at will for a solid 52 minutes of play before any adjustments were made and slowed them down. Today Gotham faces that challenge again with LaBonta, Mace, Debinha, Kizer, and Larsson. It will be interesting to see if Juan goes with what worked in the second half against OL Reign or stick with his aggressive open play which allowed Rosie and Jen the room to run on their backline. Gotham has scored 5 goals in league play this season in the 5 matches it's played. While that seems to be a good thing the only times, they've managed to score multiple goals have been against struggling sides Angel City and Orlando. Otherwise, it's been one or bust for a team with plenty of goal-scoring talent.

For Kansas City it's been a wild start to the season, having dropped its first 3 matches of the year continuing last season's shaky start. The team saw its head coach Matt Porter abruptly fired the morning of the Challenge Cup match against Houston. The team was shocked by the move of management to remove Matt from his role. Nonetheless, the team responded by winning the game against Houston and went on to win its next league game against Orlando. Caroline Sjoblom has righted the ship so far since taking over against Houston, Kansas City has scored 4 goals and surrendered zero in the two-game span. So, one of these teams will see its winning streak come to an end.

The game started with wide-open play seeing both teams go at each other's backlines, then the Current took over and peppered Abby Smith with shot after shot from inside the 18-yard box. Smith answered the call time after time in the first 45'+2' of the half. Gotham had a total of three chances in the first half to take the lead, however like Smith, Cassie Miller was up to the challenge along with her defense. Gotham left Smith hanging on an island during the first half of play letting KC fire off three high-quality chances from point-blank range. It was Smith or bust for the New York side in the first half and Debinha was having a field day creating chaos along with teammate LaBonta.

The second half saw the Current take over rather quickly when Debinha opened the scoring in the 57' when she beat the offside trap due to a miscue by the Gotham Right Back who failed to see Ali Kreiger calling for the trap to catch Debinha offside. The miscue led to Kreiger's slow reaction to Debinha going in all alone from just past the midfield and she beat Abby down the middle of the net with a well-placed shot, driven low and with power past the last-ditch diving attempt.

PHOTO CREDIT: KC CURRENT Debinha scores in the 57'

With the Current up one and smelling blood Debinha does what she does best and goes for the kill. In the 61' she followed teammate LaBonta down the pitch to the middle of the goal, LaBonta went around Abby Smith who tried to clear the ball away but got there too late and LaBonta made her pay by going around the keeper and placing a great cross into the box to Kizer, Kizer whiffed and Debinha jumped on it to bury the ball into the wide-open net for a two-goal advantage now. It's now three straight games the Current has netted two goals against an opponent.

Debinha scores in the 61' PHOTO CREDIT: KC CURRENT

That would give KC 6 goals in 3 games, and they would not look back. KC went on to defeat Gotham 2 - 0 after a total of 96 minutes of soccer. Gotham had two chances to score in the second half late but there was some miscommunication between Ali Long and Lynn Williams on both crosses into the box. Nighswonger placed two perfect balls to them and neither pulled the trigger letting the Current keeper Cassie Miller bring them in without trouble. Gotham as a team says, "We're on to the next one, like coach Juan says futbol doesn't have a memory." Gotham sees its 3-game win streak snapped by the surging KC Current who seems to be back in form for a push at the Finals again. Gotham returns to action to face the NC Courage on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at 7 PM down in Cary, North Carolina for game 2 of the Challenge Cup. They return to league play on Sunday, May 7, 2023, at 6 PM over in Bridgeview, IL to face the Chicago Red Stars who have been giving teams a challenge despite missing superstar Mallory Pugh Swanson.


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