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Match Recap: Gotham FC Wins Thrilling Season Opener 2-1

By Gotham FC, 03/27/23, 1:45AM EDT


Lynn Williams and Midge Purce Lead Come-From-Behind Victory over Angel City 

LOS ANGELES, CA (March 26, 2023) – As NJ/NY Gotham FC begins a new era, the club started the 2023 season with a 2-1 win tonight over Angel City after second half goals by Lynn Williams and Midge Purce, key saves by goalkeeper Abby Smith, and superb defensive play in the final minutes gave Gotham FC the victory.  

“I’m extremely proud of the team,” said Gotham FC Head Coach Juan Carlos Amorós. “I thought in the second half we showed a lot of character and we deserved to win the game. I’m very, very happy with the performance. They looked like a team that has been together for two years instead of two months.” 

Williams’s game-winning goal came in the 65th minute off a deft pass from Midge Purce, who received the ball from Yazmeen Ryan. Purce made a brilliant play to freeze the Angel City defense and send the ball to her right perfectly for Williams, who fired it inside the far post. For Williams, it was her 58th NWSL goal – most among U.S. players in league history – and her 16th game-winner in the NWSL. After being sidelined last season with an injury, it was Williams’ first NWSL goal since October, 2021.

“We’ve been practicing 3v2 and 3v3 a lot,” said Williams. “When Midge flipped me the ball, I said, ‘Just hit the target.’ And it went in.” 

Said Amorós, “Lynn showed so much composure and quality on that goal.”

Purce scored the game-tying goal at 55’ on a penalty after Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir, who subbed in for Kelley O’Hara at the start of the second half, was brought down by Angel City goalkeeper Didi Haračić during a scoring attempt in the box. Composed and with pinpoint accuracy, Purce scored in the top right corner. 

The penalty was the first in league history awarded after a review by VAR, which is making its debut this season in the NWSL. Gotham FC did not score a goal on a penalty last season. 

Alyssa Thompson opened the scoring for Angel City in the 11th minute with a strike over the outstretched arms of Smith. Four minutes later, a goal from distance by Jun Endo of Angel City was called back after a review by VAR. Soon after, Smith – making her Gotham FC debut after signing with the club as a free agent – made a spectacular save off a free kick to keep the deficit at one goal, and later made key saves in the second half to help lead her new club to victory in the Season Opener.

“Abby was very good,” said Amoros. “It’s never easy when you concede that first goal. She really grew as the game went on. I was very happy for her. She proved why she can be a starter for our team.” 

The incredible drama of the come-from-behind win near Hollywood was best described after the game by Purce. 

“That was a crazy movie,” she said. 


Additional Quotes 
Lynn Williams: “Everyone is excited, ecstatic to get three points. It shows grit and mentality, finding a way to win.” 

Midge Purce: “We weathered the storm in the first half. We got to the locker room and said, ‘We are not playing the way we’re trained to play. Most of their chances came from our mistakes, instead of normal creation – which (Angel City) is very capable of doing. We were calm. No one gets freaked out by it. We just said, ‘We need to make it harder on them and we have to score two.” 

Jenna Nighswonger: “Three points at the start of any season is really important, just to build up your confidence. It’s a really big win, especially with our Home Opener coming up next weekend.” 


Gotham FC captain and legendary USWNT defender Ali Krieger started the first game of the final season of her celebrated career. At the 10-minute mark, Krieger came off after sustaining an injury and was replaced by Nighswonger, who entered her first match as professional in her home state of California after being selected by Gotham FC with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NWSL draft. 

With Krieger sidelined, the captain’s armband went to Allie Long, who returned to the Gotham FC lineup after being on maternity leave last season. “It was amazing,” said Long. “The best part was hearing the National Anthem, being on the field with this team. All of the work I put in had paid off. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.” 

After the match, Angel FC’s Sydney Leroux and Christen Press presented flowers to Krieger, in honor of their longtime USWNT teammate’s final season. 

On an outstanding opening weekend across the NWSL, tonight’s match in Los Angeles was played before a sold-out crowd of more than 22,000 at BMO Stadium. 

The victory on Sunday gives Gotham FC a 2-1 lead in the all-time series with Angel City. The teams split their pair of matches in Angel City FC’s inaugural NWSL season in 2022. The two clubs meet on Gotham FC’s home turf on July 2.   


Up Next: Gotham FC Home Opener 
Gotham FC’s highly anticipated home opener against Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, and OL Reign is on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Red Bull Arena. Tickets are now on sale for the home opener HERE.


Tickets on Sale Now: 
Information on Single Match tickets for Gotham FC home matches is available HERE.  Season Ticket Memberships and group ticket packages are also available now by visiting Gotham FC Founders Club Members and Season Ticket Members receive the Black Box and its limited-edition items.