3 things we learned from Gotham FC's home opener draw to the KC Current

  • Gotham FC and the Kansas City Current played one another on Sunday
  • The two teams ended the match in a draw
  • Here are three things that we learned from the game
Gotham FC
Gotham FC / Jonathan Jones-USA TODAY Sports

NJ/NY Gotham FC opened up their NWSL home campaign against the red-hot Kansas City Current at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. After trailing for a big part of the match, the side found a way to get a goal back to take the draw while slowly climbing up the table.  

With Rose Lavelle still out, Gotham FC struggles with their midfield, while the attack continues to stand out to balance out the attack. Esther González was the savior of the day with her second goal in 2024, while Yazmeen Ryan was the star of the match.  

It was also an exciting fixture to begin with as the team was presented their 2023 winning rings, while fans also saw the return of Ali Krieger at the game supporting her old club while getting her first-ever NWSL ring.   

With a few things to discuss, here are the three things we learned from the 1-1 draw.  

3 things we learned from Gotham’s 1-1 draw 

1. Katie Stengel should be Midge Purce’s replacement 

The news of Midge Purce going down for the season was tough, especially as she was in the best form of her career. However, Gotham FC must move on and it looks like Katie Stengel could be the answer to all of this. Juan Carlos Amorós decided to give Stengel her first start of the season, giving Crystal Dunn a start on the bench.  

Despite not scoring, she did put up an impressive outing, recording four shots with one on target and completing 61 percent of her passes. She has always been an important option in the attack, scoring the winner to send Gotham to the finals last season. Stengel also joined the team late from Liverpool F.C. Women over the summer, making her return to the NWSL.

2. Why Jenna Nighswonger should start every match 

Jenna Nighswonger started on the bench after returning from national team duty with the USWNT. Despite not playing in the final of the SheBelieves Cup with Canada, she did play the entire 90 minutes against Japan. Instead, Samatha Hiatt saw the start, with Dunn also remaining on the bench. 

Since Nighswonger came on at halftime, she had an immediate impact, recording six recoveries while recording a 71 percent pass accuracy. Gotham plays differently with Nighswonger there, bringing on great energy and stellar attacking skills even at left-back which is hard to replace.

 3. Is Red Bull Arena the best home arena for Gotham FC? 

The home opener for Gotham FC only recorded an attendance of 8,573 during their ring presentation. Yes, it was a record for the club's NWSL home opener. Still, with women's soccer growing, Gotham FC should be growing more in attendance, and the location of the arena is a big part of it. The New York Red Bulls struggle to attract a big crowd as well, with their match against Chicago Fire FC only filling up less than 50 percent. Last season, the Bat only drew an average of about 6,293 people, which was among the lowest in the league.  

Meanwhile, teams like the San Diego Wave, Angel City FC, and Portland Thorns FC, tend to draw close to a sellout each game. There has to be a discussion about whether Gotham FC could decide to move to New York in the coming years, especially when NYCFC’s stadium is built. With a team just winning the cup, they should be drawing more crowds, but it is only fair to make their home matches better accessible as well.