Gotham FC falls to the San Diego Wave in the NWSL Challenge Cup

  • Gotham FC and the San Diego Wave played one another in the NWSL Challenge Cup
  • The Bats failed to score and sadly lost 1-0 to the visitors

Gotham FC
Gotham FC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday evening, NJ/NY Gotham FC and the San Diego Wave kicked off the 2024 season.  The NWSL Champions and NWSL Shield winners faced one another in the NWSL Challenge Cup.  While it was not their first NWSL game for the year, the match marked the start of 2024

Meanwhile, the Bats already had a long injury list.  Starting goalkeeper Abby Smith is expected to be out for some time.  Then, for the Challenge Cup, the team was without stars like Rose Lavelle and Lynn Williams.  Unfortunately for Lavelle, she will have to wait to make her debut.

Starter wise, Tierna Davidson and Cassie Miller debuted in front of an impressive crowd for Gotham.  Notably, Crystal Dunn, Jenna Nighswonger, and Emily Sonnett were on the bench while Midge Purce was also in the Starting XI with Davidson.  That means only two of the USWNT W Gold Cup winners started the match.  This was likely a game-management move.  Also, Kelley O’Hara was the captain, which is not surprising based on her leadership and veteran status.

When all was said and done, Juan Carlos Amorós’ team could not get the job done.  Despite an even battle, a late goal saw Gotham FC lose 1-0 to San Diego.

Gotham FC falls to San Diego

The first half started slowly for both sides.  It took a little over 20 minutes in for Gotham to have any threat with shots from Delanie Sheehan and Esther González, but they just missed going on target.  Arguably, those were the two best shots in the first 45 minutes, but that put more juice into the attack.

The best chance for San Diego came around the 33rd minute.  Jaedyn Shaw had the perfect opportunity to put her team ahead, but Cassie Miller’s quick reaction sent the ball out of danger.

In the second half, it was not the most threatening from Gotham or the Wave.  Maycee Bell, Dunn, Sonnett, and Ella Stevens made their debuts for the club when they came on as substitutes.  Miller showed everyone why she was signed.  She read the ball well and continued to help keep the ball out of the net.  Still, the second 45 minutes was not the most exciting.

There was a goal though, and sadly it was not from Gotham.  Alex Morgan scored from a header in the 88th minute to put San Diego in front.  It was a free header where the defense gave the star striker too much room.

The loss is not the end of the world though.  The Bats will probably need time to build chemistry with all the new faces.  It also came down to one goal; both teams produced an even battle.  It would have been nice to add another trophy but ultimately the team has a clean slate as they play their first NWSL match next weekend.

It is also the beginning of the season. Gotham FC is still expected to be one of the better teams in the NWSL. Fans can look forward to the 2024 campaign.