3 things we learned from Gotham FC's 1-1 draw with San Diego Wave FC

  • Gotham FC extended their unbeaten streak to four games after a 1-1 draw in California
  • The team earned their first point in club history against the San Diego Wave
Ella Stevens of Gotham FC
Ella Stevens of Gotham FC / Julia Kapros-USA TODAY Sports

After a three-game week that's taken The Bats from New Jersey cross-country to San Diego with a stop in Houston in between, NJ/NY Gotham FC earned a 1-1 draw against San Diego Wave FC in the two teams' first meeting since the season-opening Challenge Cup back in March. This was also the first time Gotham earned a result that was not a loss against San Diego since the Wave joined the league in 2022.

In addition, this was Gotham's first visit to Snapdragon Stadium since last November during the 2023 NWSL Championship Game win against OL Reign (now Seattle Reign FC).

After having much of the momentum at the start of the first half, Gotham got the scoring started in the 25th minute as Ella Stevens finished off a brilliant sequence of play for her first goal in Gotham colors. This was not enough to hold on for the win as Gotham's inability to score multiple goals in a game bit them again as San Diego found the equalizer in the 64th minute as Hanna Lundkvist headed home a Savannah McCaskill corner kick to help earn a draw for The Wave.

Here are three things we learned from this weekend's Gotham FC game.

1. Ella Stevens has earned her place in this team

Largely unfairly, Ella Stevens was kind of an afterthought when it came to Gotham FC's offseason acquisitions. She had signed from the Chicago Red Stars who finished in last place in the 2023 standings and was clearly overshadowed by the USWNT quartet signed earlier in the offseason.

After playing just 45 minutes over the team's first five league games, Stevens was thrust into the starting lineup for all three of this week's games, playing 181 minutes and ultimately culminating in her first goal of the season.

She has very much held her own in those three games and kept pace with her front-linemates Lynn Williams and Esther González.

Her play this past week has given Gotham's coaching staff the wonderful problem of having another player emerge as a more than worthy candidate for consistent starts moving forward.

2. Finishing still needs improvement

Despite Ella Stevens' goal and Gotham's overall improved offensive play, there is still a lot to be desired from the Bats in front of the goal. The team has yet to score multiple goals in a game this year.

The NJ/NY side certainly had plenty of chances this game and even with their plethora of defensive injuries, one could very easily chalk it up to San Diego being one of the more talented groups in the league. Also, their goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan arguably is one of the best in NWSL.

While this was an issue last season as they tied with Racing Louisville FC for the second fewest goals scored in the league last year with 25, at this point last season they had scored eleven goals with four multi-goal performances to their name.

These next two games against the Chicago Red Stars and Bay FC (who have conceded the most goals in the league with 20) are real opportunities for Gotham FC to have their first breakout offensive performance of the season.

3. Unbeaten in the "week of death"

Full credit is due to Gotham who made it through this three-game week with tons of travel with two wins and a draw.

Going into this week, it seemed a pivotal spot in this season in figuring out who this team is and what they are made of. To the relief of many, this team was able to find its feet and start to show some of the quality grit that made them champions last year.

This was a good week after a win against one of the league's best teams in the North Carolina Courage to their utter domination of the Houston Dash in a tough midweek game. This ultimately culminated in a return to a place full of great memories and partially exercising their Wave demons with a 1-1 draw against San Diego.

There is still plenty of room for improvement, but what Gotham FC showed this week is much more reassuring and a great improvement on some of the performances from earlier this season.