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Gotham falls to Reign on a Rain-Soaked Night.


J.J. Pavlick

Today's matchup sees powerhouse and predicted finals contender OL Reign taking on the new look Gotham FC who are trying to show major improvement from last year. So far Gotham FC has started on the right foot picking up 3 points in the season opener when they came from behind to defeat Angel City late. Midge completed a penalty kick attempt in the 55th minute and Lynn Williams took advantage of an overcommitted defender to score the game-winner in the 65th. It wasn't an eye-opening performance for Gotham by any means, but they found a way to pull out a victory. The newly led team by manager Juan Carlos Amoros will look to build off the victory and tighten things up in the back half. For the Reign they suffered defeat at the hands of the Washington Spirit 1 - 0 on a goal from Trinity Rodman from distance in the 54th minute of play. The blast sent shockwaves through the league and electrified the record crowd in attendance at Audi Field in the nation's capital. The game saw a long weather delay due to severe weather patterns in the area. During the delay OL Reign head assistant coach Scott Parkinson took time to take pictures with a young Gotham FC fan.

Head assistant coach Scott Parkinson takes photo with young Gotham FC fan.
Scott Parkinson takes a photo with a young Gotham FC fan

The new tradition of Gotham FC is official now with the first march of the torch making its way from the supporter's section of Cloud 9, to the youth club alliance members down to 2x Super Bowl Winning NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning who is part of the Gotham ownership group, the final handoff to the U.S. women's soccer legend Carli Lloyd who was part of world cup victories and also a member of the ownership team for Gotham. She placed the torch in the slot and illuminated the arena with a high stream of fire.

The lineups were announced, and they were finally underway after a long lightning delay. The first ten minutes of play saw both teams feeling each other out, neither giving up much just bending enough to cause some excitement in the arena. Kristie Mewis a few moments later took on the Reign backline one on one and got off a rocket that would make Sam Kerr proud, the shot just missed the 1st post and hit the outer netting but not by much. Two minutes later in the 13th minute the pace picked up when Jess Fishlock found a nice seam in the Gotham backline threading it like a seamstress, unfortunately Huitema was unable to run onto it before Abby smith got to it. Abby played it long finding Edmond who danced out of her own, cleat and with one cleat danced around the backline of the Reign finding Mewis top of the box, she laid off a beautiful touch pass to Midge who had it blocked going wide of goal for a corner. The corner resulted in nothing and both teams have gone back and forth trading possession but no major threats to either side now 24 minutes into the match, Rose Lavelle is on the ground and in some discomfort, she is having her left leg evaluated, she seems to be able to weight bear with just a slight limp. Safe to say Rosie is fine, she can dance, and boy did she ever on the Gotham backline. She placed a beautifully weighted pass splitting the center back pairing of Freeman and Edmonds like butter and Jess Fishlock did what she does best finish from 8 yards out in the 31st minute of play, making it 0 - 1 OL Reign. Now a rocket from Svava 40 yards from goal sent Abby diving full stretch to the far-right post to make the save, the ball went out for a corner, and Gotham cleared it but it was interesting at first. Reign keeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce is thriving across the river from her hometown of New York City, Gotham has struggled to challenge her through 45 minutes of play. The fourth official has indicated a minimum of four additional minutes in the first half and Jess fires a brilliant ball at goal from 35 yards out and just misses the right upper 90 by an inch if that.

Svava leaves Emily Sonnet and Jess Fishlock on the turf and hurting after back-to-back hard challenges on the ball. The center has seen enough and calls a foul after the hard tackle on Jess. That's half OL Reign 1 - Gotham FC 0, Gotham had moments but never capitalized, while the Reign made the most of one of many golden chances.

The first half was a story that Gotham fans know all too well, lots of chances and no finishes. Gotham while creating amazing opportunities needs to find a way to hit the back of the net off the chances made. Their opponents still just need 1 or 2 key moments, and they control the game and pace. That needs to change fast, the franchise has way too much talent to be struggling this much year in and year out.

When asked about halftime adjustments made to slow down Jess Fishlock and Rosie Lavelle by Bad Dawg Sports Gotham FC manager Juan Carlos Amoros had this to say "I think we tried to push just a little bit higher to stop them coming down and it was important to slow them down in the midfield. I think in the second half we did a much better job with that. We stopped the second ball a bunch of the time, but I think that was well then, we wanted some players to come off who were battling injuries and had to make some moves. They were not necessarily ideal ones, but necessary ones and I think that will improve, but still some of the players who came off the bench I would like to highlight. Sinead Farrelly coming off such a long period of inactivity and playing the way she did, it's been some difficult years so to see her play the way she did it's been the highlight of the day." He also thanked the fans and media for coming out and staying despite the weather and delays.

The second half sees Gotham make a sub to start the half bringing on newly drafted Jenna Nighswonger from Florida State for newly acquired Svava from Iceland this summer. is starting like the first where both teams are bending the lines but not letting anything major happen in front of their respected goalkeepers. In the 58' Gotham makes two substitutions bringing on Victoria Pickett for Mandy Freeman and McCall Zerboni for Kelly O'Hara. just minutes later Bethany Balcer finds space in the box and fires one home from inside the six for a 2 - 0 OL Reign lead in the 63'. Gotham goes to its bench again this time bringing on Taylor Smith for Yazmeen Ryan, and Sinead Farrelly for Bruninha. Ali long was issued a yellow card in the 75th minute of play after a hard tackle. In the 80th minute the Reign bring on Veronica Latsko for goal scorer Bethany Balcer. In the 88th minute of play the Reign bring on Elyse Bennett for Jordyn Huitema. The fourth official has indicated that a minimum of 5 minutes will be added to the second half of play. During stoppage time the Reign bring on Olivia Athens for Rose Lavelle and Nikki Stanton for Sofia Huerta. The center has issued Midge a yellow card for what looks like dissent. That does it the center blows the final whistle to end the match, one Gotham will love to forget. OL Reign came in and got the bounce-back win they desired with solid play from the netminder Phallon Tullis-Joyce who returned to the NYC area and secured 3 points for her side. The Reign improve to 1-1-0 on the young season and Gotham FC fall to 1-1-0. Gotham returns to action on April 15th in Orlando to take on the Pride at 7 pm.

K Mewis trying to get in on goal with Phallon Tullis-Joyce
K Mewis trying to get in on goal with Phallon Tullis-Joyce

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