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Pride Hold Off Gotham to Earn Tie


J.J. Pavlick

Gotham FC Logo with Statue of Liberty
Photo Credit: Gotham FC

Gotham FC entered today's game just three points behind the first-place Washington Spirit who beat Angel City last night on a penalty kick in the 90' last night. Ashley Sanchez stepped up to win the game and move Washington ahead of OL Reign who sits in 2nd place 1 point ahead of Gotham. Gotham will be taking on a surging Orlando Pride team that has won its last two league matches beating the San Diego Wave 3 - 1 and Racing Louisville 1 - 0. The last time the two sides played in Orlando, Gotham FC took it 0 - 2 via a penalty kick converted by Midge Purce and then a late goal by Superhero Lynn "Bats" Williams. The game should be a good one with legend Marta playing for the Pride. (Photo Credit: Soccer LI Magazine S. McCaffery)

The temperature is perfect for a match, the best part no thunderstorms in the area during the match as of now. We may get our first Gotham game without a delay. Abby Smith will have a busy day, It will be a great challenge for the young goalkeeper. Today's game will be a big test for Gotham, Marta will be looking to show the world she is back and ready to play on the big stage again.

The first half has seen lots of possession by Gotham, and they've been pressing the Pride back line almost at will to this point of the match just 10' in, the Pride have bent a few times, but Gotham just missed that opening goal by inches or less. Kelly O'Hara tries to send Lynn Williams onto goal, but the defense recovers in time to thwart the shot. Taylor Smith just misses a beautiful goal at the second post, the ball hit the post went in the air hit the keeper's hip, and bounced toward the field instead of in the 12'. Orlando finally gets a real chance at the goal when Marta takes a corner kick in the 17', she found Strom's head with a perfect cross, however, Strom hit the ball well over the crossbar for a goal kick. Adriana tries to test Abby Smith from a long distance but her shot goes right into Smith's arms in the 20'. Marta is down holding her face and the referee seems oblivious to it, finally a minute later the referee sees her down and stops play. Halfway through the half, it's still 0 - 0 despite the heavy attack of Gotham. Adriana makes Smith use her entire frame to stop a shot from 30 yards out, the ball is punched out for a corner. Abby clears Marta's corner kick punching it out to her right wing-back in the 26'. Edmonds trying to take out media members from Bad Dawg Sports and The Philadelphia Inquirer in the 27'. In the 35' a yellow card is shown to Kelley O'Hara after foul 30 yards from the goal. The free kick goes sailing into the stands, following the card. Yazmeen Ryan with a nice run into the box but one too many dribbles end the threat in the 38'. Adriana has picked her moments this match and has come close a few times to burying her shots, Juan will use this stoppage in play to solve the issue. Keeper Moorhouse is down after colliding with Farrelly in the 39'. The match resumes in the 43' with a drop ball for Abby Smith in her box. Bright finds Villacorta top of the 18, she plays it to Adriana who runs onto the ball and unleashes a rocket toward the first post, but Abby Smith makes an incredible diving save in the 44'. Abby with three amazing saves in a row off Adriana, the Bright run down the right wing, her low cross gave Abby trouble, but she denied every chance and stood strong while hurting. The referee blows the whistle to end the half.

The game has seen Gotham come out strong, though Orlando started to pressure the home side's backline in the final 15 minutes of play. Would expect Juan Carlos to make the necessary corrections at halftime and come up with some way of slowing Adrianna and Bright down. The two have been the only bright spot for the Pride tonight, as for Gotham Williams has been dangerous just hasn't found the net yet. (Photo Credit: Soccer LI Magazine S. McCaffery)

To start the second half Kelley O'Hara moves up to right forward and Taylor Smith drops back to right wing-back. Gotham comes out aggressive and pushes the Pride lines back to start the second half, Farrelly with a nice run down the wing but Adriana runs her down to stop the cross and draws a foul. Lynn with a run down the right but not enough on her shot to trouble the Moorhouse, also no run to the post from Gotham's other forwards in the 54'. In the 55' Gotham brings on Sheehan for Kelley O'Hara. In the 56' Taylor Smith does just enough to make Bright fall 7 yards from the left of the goal and the ball rolls to Smith who gathers it up with no issues. In the 58' Mewis is taken down just outside the box, and the players are talking it over on how they want to proceed, appears either Ali Long or Mewis will take it, A. Long steps over the ball and Mewis's shot is blocked by the wall. It's rare to see Gotham being outshot in a game this season, the center is having words for Williams over the Strom flop in her own box. Farrelly is issued a yellow card by the center, after a tough challenge in the final third, the card is shown in the 66'. In the 69' a player on Orlando goes down in midfield with no contact, the player is Emily Madril, she gets her knee iced down on the sideline for a few seconds and is now back on the field a little more than a minute later. Zerboni will enter the match replacing Farrelly in the 74'. Orlando brings on Abello for Tymrak in the 77' of play, the match is still back and forth despite Orlando leading in shots. Gotham has had more possession time, unfortunately, the forwards are struggling to find the goal. We've entered the part of the match where Gotham either strives or concedes the most this season. The final 24' of matches have been an adventure this season. Williams again shoots just wide of the goal tonight this time in the 82'. Tonight, Ryan, Williams, and Smith just haven't found that magic yet. In the 84' Ryan gets her best chance of the match so far from 17 yards out but Moorhouse stood tall and made the save. In the 87' Orlando subs out Marta and Bright, and they bring on Watt and Yates. Gotham in the 88' brings on Onumonu for Bruninha, Juan is trying to find that one goal to get the big three points and move into a tie with Washington for first place. The free kick taken by Mewis 48 yards from the goal finds Onumonu but her header just weakly rolls into the keeper's hands. The fourth shows a minimum of 4', and the center issues a yellow card to Zerboni. Abby Smith with a huge save in the 90'+2' to keep the game tied, then she saves the corner kick attempt. Abby is hands down the POTM tonight for Gotham. That's the game Gotham moves into a tie for second place with the OL Reign. Orlando moves into a tie for ninth with 7 points pending the outcomes of the later matches. (Photo Credit: Soccer LI Magazine S. McCaffery)

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