HARRISON, NJ (Saturday, September 2, 2023) – The resilience of NJ/NY Gotham FC was on full display Saturday night, when the club put up a strong comeback performance in the second half to tie the North Carolina Courage 3-3 on the road at WakeMed Park.
The Courage took an early 1-0 lead in the 19th minute after a cross delivered just above the penalty spot was finished by Courage midfielder Narumi Miurai. The Courage added another goal in the 45th minute by way of a strike from Kerolin into the far side netting.
Despite the scoreline at the end of the first half, Gotham FC had six attempts on goal and won three corner kicks.
Kicking off the second half, Gotham FC picked up the speed of play and re-energized the attack by adding defender Kristen Edmonds into the backline.
Edmonds created a prime opportunity when she dribbled into North Carolina’s 18-yard-box. She was taken down during a 1v1 and earned a penalty kick. Two-time NWSL Rookie of the Month Jenna Nighswonger stepped up to the spot and drilled the ball into the bottom left corner, narrowing the scoreline to 2-1.
In the 65th minute, newly crowned 2023 World Cup champion Esther Gonzalez made her Gotham FC debut and provided another attacking jolt to the offense.
With the momentum shifting into Gotham FC’s favor, the Courage extended its lead back to a two-goal advantage in the 68th minute. However, Esther Gonzalez began her new NWSL journey by nearly scoring a goal in the 71st minute off a shot that hit the far post.
Both sides would continue to trade goal scoring opportunities with five combined shots on goal for the two teams, including three for Gotham FC and two for the North Carolina Courage.
Once again, Gotham FC closed the gap, when midfielder/defender Maitane Lopez scored in the 73rd minute off of a two-touch finish that returned the club to within striking distance of an equalizer.
Nine minutes later, Gotham FC leveled the scoreline in the 81st minute, when Edmonds took her space on the sideline, outpacing the opposition, to send a ball across the box to Lynn Williams, who took a prep touch that forward Midge Purce finished.
With Purce’s equalizer and her 15th goal of her career, she’s now tied with Kelley O’Hara for third most goals scored in club history right behind Carli Lloyd, who ranks second and Sam Kerr, who holds the record. This also marks the first time Gotham FC has converted three goals in the second half of any match this season.
Also on Gotham FC’s third goal, forward Lynn Williams secured her 27th career regular season assist to now rank third all-time in league history, which moves her ahead of Alex Morgan & Naho Kawasumi in the category. Only Sofia Huerta and Jess McDonald have more with 31 each.
Following ten minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle blew. Gotham FC not only earned an important point on the road, but the club remains unbeaten against NC Courage in all competitions this year.
Gotham FC will be back in action at home at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, Sept. 16 to face the Washington Spirit. Tickets are available at GothamFC.com/tickets.
STARTING LINEUP Mandy Haught, Bruninha, Lynn Williams, Ali Krieger, Nealy Martin (46’ Ellie Jean), Delanie Sheehan, Ifeoma Onumonu (46’ Kristen Edmonds), Katie Stengel, Jenna Nighswonger (65’ Midge Purce), Sinead Farrelly (65’ Esther Gonzalez), Maitane Lopez
New link to postgame folders: https://gothamfc.box.com/s/es9qmirxpn99ean38cx5z4eelq2026py
On coming back from a 3-1 deficit
I think it’s a testament to the resilience that this team has. We came together at half time, and I think that really showed on the field. Everyone was needed, everyone that came on, every starter. It's just a resilient tough team that I think we've showed through this whole season, and it really really came through tonight.
On being moved up to forward
It was different, it was interesting. It was fun to be higher up the field. But I like both roles, so I’m just happy to be on the field.
On scoring in tonight’s match
What a ball by Kristen [Edmonds]. Kristen got into a great space, she got high on the outside back, played it behind the back line into the space. Lynn got to it first and laid it off nice.. so I'm really grateful.
On winning Player of the Match
That's really humbling considering I think there were so many people who did absolutely fantastic today. For me, I have to say Kristen Edmonds is the Player of the Match. I mean, she drew the PK; she played that ball and started the third goal, and she put her body on the line for us. So she was absolutely fantastic. So very, very humbling, and I appreciate it.
Head Coach Juan Carlos Amoros
On Esther Gonzalez making her Gotham FC debut two weeks after winning the World Cup
She's the ultimate level of professionalism, so [she] was going to come in the best shape possible. She takes care of every detail as you need to do, and I knew she was gonna come in good shape. Obviously two weeks, but we made sure that we had every detail under control to know how much she could play. She's been really good at training.
On being unlucky in recent matches
We definitely were very unlucky in San Diego .., I think we definitely should have won the game against Louisville. And today, even if you look at the statistics, even if the first half they were good, we probably should have won the game and completed the comeback with one of those posts. But for me, it's what we work on is this group of players. Obviously, we try to install the winning mentality.
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