HARRISON, NJ (Saturday, September 16, 2023) – For the first time in club history, NJ/NY Gotham FC surpassed the 50,000 fans milestone during a single season, when the club returned to Red Bull Arena on Saturday night to the embrace of 6,202 in attendance for the first home match of newly-crowned 2023 FIFA World Cup champion Esther González, and it did not disappoint.
Fresh off her proper club introduction in Manhattan this week, González scored two second half goals to lead her new club to a home victory. González is just the sixth player in NWSL history to score a brace in one of her first two league appearances and the second since 2015 (Sophia Smith - 2021).
Gotham FC dominated the entire match in every offensive category, leading the Spirit in shots on goal (4-1), completed passes (340-228), ball control (56% - 44%), and outshooting Washington by a margin of 17-7 through the match.
In the first half, Gotham FC was knocking on the door of an opening goal, leading offensively with eight shots, two on frame, and 59% ball possession. Gotham FC showed grit on the defensive end as well, holding the Spirit to just one shot on target.
Gotham FC’s best chance for a first goal came in the 25th minute, when forward Midge Purce received the ball outside of the box, shook her defender, and struck a clean shot on target that was parried away by Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury. Both teams went into halftime searching for a goal to break the 0-0 tie.
In the 65th minute, González brought Gotham FC fans to their feet with the first goal of the night. The Spanish forward slotted the ball into the back of the net after the ball fell to her feet from a deflection.
González was not finished yet. Five minutes later, the forward struck again to double Gotham FC’s lead after Lynn Williams delivered a pinpoint pass across the goal into the path of González’s feet. The World Cup champion took a prep touch from the top of the six and shot the ball past Kingsbury intro the right netting to bring the score to 2-0.
On the second goal, Williams notched her second assist in as many games, with back-to-back helpers for the first time since July 6, 2019.
In the tight race to the NWSL Playoffs, no team can clinch or be eliminated from playoff contention this weekend. Gotham FC earns three important points and distances themselves from the Washington Spirit after the two sides entered the match separated by just one point.
Gotham FC will return to action on Oct. 1, as the club plays host to the Houston Dash (6:30 p.m. ET) before Oct. 15 will mark Gotham FC captain Ali Krieger’s final regular season home match of her career at Red Bull Arena.
Tickets are available at GothamFC.com/Tickets.
Mandy Haught, Bruninha (90+1’ Mandy Freeman), Ali Krieger, Maitane Lopez (82’ Ellie Jean), Jenna Nighswonger, Nealy Martin, Delanie Sheehan, Yazmeen Ryan (90+2’ Katie Stengel), Esther González, Lynn Williams, Midge Purce (78’ Sinead Farrelly)
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