HARRISON, NJ (Wednesday, August 9, 2023) - NJ/NY Gotham FC’s run in the UKG Challenge Cup came to an end after the club’s final group stage match on Wednesday night concluded in a 1-1 comeback draw against the Orlando Pride at Red Bull Arena.
Gotham FC put up a valiant effort, recording seven shots on goal, and a second-half surge that produced a late Mana Shim goal in second half stoppage time to tie the scoreline.
The Orlando Pride struck first in the 32nd minute, when forward Messiah Bright finished from close range off an assist from defender Kerry Abello.
Gotham FC came close to equalizing in the 41st minute when midfielder/forward Yazmeen Ryan unleashed a shot down the middle, only to have it tipped over the goal by Orlando goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse.
Orlando nearly increased its lead to 2-0 in the 61st minute when Abello delivered a cross in front of the goal. Defender Haley McCutcheon redirected the ball into the net with her body. However, the VAR recommended a video review, and the goal was ultimately disallowed due to a handball by McCutcheon.
Providing a lifeline in the final moments of the match, Gotham FC continued to apply pressure, and in the 91st minute, forward Midge Purce skillfully sent a bending ball across the box that midfielder Mana Shim stretched to connect on the far past to slide in the goal. The finish marked Shim’s first goal since Aug. 5, 2015.
Despite not advancing in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup, Gotham FC will return to the pitch on Saturday, Aug. 19 in San Diego to resume its regular season schedule. The team currently sits tied for second place in the regular season standings with the Portland Thorns. However, the Thorns take the tiebreaker on goal differential.
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