Gotham FC Look to Rain on The Reign’s Fun
By JJ Pavlick
September 21, 2022
The last place NY/NJ Gotham FC took on powerhouse OL Reign at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. They played in front of 2,274 fans for the game between 5th place OL Reign and 11th place NY/NJ Gotham FC.
The Gotham FC competed hard with the OL Reign dictating the midfield during the first 10 minutes of play. Gotham forward Onumonu earned a corner for the side, the kick just misses Purce’s head and goes out for a goal kick. Match remains tied at 0-0 at the 12-minute mark, Reign goalie Joyce charged and dove just in time to deny Purce a scoring chance. Gotham showed up to play tonight pressuring the Reign back line hard the last few minutes and had a few quality chances on goal. Purce danced around 3 Reign defenders and loses her balance as she attempts a shot on goal at the 15-min mark. So far, the best opportunity created by Purce. In the 22nd min, Gotham earned a free kick 25 yards from goal, taken by Pickett, who hits Purce inside the box 16 yards from goal and she strikes it too hard sending it over the crossbar. A few minutes later, a yellow card was issued to Reign striker Huitema. Moments later Huitema was taken down hard in the box. Reign bench was screaming for the foul, but the referee makes no signal at all leading to confusion for the players. The ref blows the whistle to stop play and allow Huitema to receive treatment from the training staff. The play restarts with a drop ball for NY/NJ Gotham in their penalty area. Huitema was injured on the play but returned quickly to action. In the first half, Gotham is still battling with the Reign not giving them much room in the midfield causing multiple turnovers. In the 33rd-min score remains 0-0 but Gotham FC has had 3 or 4 solid chances at goal. In the 43rd minute, the Reign have their best chance of the match so far. Huittema gets taken down at top of the penalty box, the free kick is taken by Rose Lavelle who blasts it into the Gotham wall, and they clear the ball out of danger. In the 45th minute, the 4th official announces 3 extra minutes of play to the 1st half. Lavelle breaks in right of goal and fires a shot 19 yards out, a diving save by Gotham keeper Betos keeps it a 0-0 match in the 46th minute of play. The referee blew the whistle for halftime at the 48th minute of play in the first half.
Gotham FC played well in the 1st half limiting the Reign to 3 quality chances on goal and managed 6 quality chances themselves. The Reign were frustrated on the bench and pitch during the opening half of play. If Gotham can keep this pace, they have a great chance of pulling off the upset of the 5th place Reign. If the Reign can find a way to win the match, they can move ahead of 4th place Portland who plays Louisville tonight at 10 pm EST.
The second half started with no changes made by either team at halftime, Gotham continues to pressure the Reign midfield and back line. 48th minute Gotham earns a corner kick, played short, Jean sends a cross into the box but too far and over the goal line for a goal kick by the Reign. In the 50th minute, Pickett took the corner kick, and she sent the ball into the box where Lavelle clears it. Gotham earned 5 corners so far in the match but couldn’t capitalize on them to that point. In the 56th minute of play, the Reign make two substitutions #15 Megan Rapinoe comes on for #9 Huitema, and #10 Jess Fishlock came on for #23 Tziarra King. Megan Rapinoe wasted no time and found her teammate Fishlock with a well-played through ball that leads to a penalty kick call. A yellow card is shown to #11 Krieger of Gotham FC, Rapinoe takes the penalty kick and buried it 1-0 Reign. Since Rapinoe and Fishlock entered the match, the Reign took over in all aspects of the match. Rapinoe with a blast from 28 yards out goes just over the crossbar, match stays 1-0 for the Reign. Shots on goal and quality chances have evened out between the teams since Rapinoe and Fishlock came on. In the 70th minute, Gotham marched down the field and pushed the Reign back into their box, but the cross was cleared out. A few minutes later Gotham FC makes two substitutions bringing on #44 Jenna Bike for #21 Ellie Jean and #8 Taryn Torres came on for #19 Kristie Mewis. The next minute Reign sub on #2 Nikki Stanton for #33 Olivia Van der Jagt. Rose Lavelle gets an opportunity in the 76-min and shot the ball just wide of goal. A minute later a yellow card is issued to Reign’s #11 Sofia Huerta, Pickett takes the free kick with a hard-bending shot on goal, diving save by Joyce to keep it 1-0 Reign. In the 79th minute, Gotham makes two substitutions bringing on #9 Kumi Yokoyama for #99 Pickett and #14 Delanie Sheehan coming on for #25 Ifeoma Onumonu. In the 84th minute, a yellow card was issued to Gotham #4 Jill Bike, nothing comes of the free kick. A minute later Reign made two substitutions #24 Veronica Latsko came on for #8 Bethany Balcer and #21 Phoebe McClernon came on for #3 Lauren Barnes. In the 90th minute, the 4th official announces 3 minutes of extra time. A minute later a yellow card is issued to #10 Fishlock of the OL Reign. Gotham with a minute remaining fired a rocket on the net by Kawasumi, but Reign goalie Joyce makes a well-timed diving save to keep the score 1-0. The referee blows the whistle to end the match.
Overall, we saw a better Gotham FC team on the pitch than we were used to seeing. Hopefully, they will take this new momentum into their remaining matches of the season. Gotham will play the NC Courage on September 24th at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The match will be shown on Paramount TV and Twitch at 7 pm EST. The final home game will be on October 1st at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ against the Portland Thorns who will be trying to finish in 1st place. Game time for the home finally will be at 6 pm EST.