Gotham FC wins their fifth in a row and first game over San Diego Wave FC

  • Gotham FC and the San Diego Wave played one another on Juneteenth for the final time in the regular season
  • The Bats beat the Wave for the first time thanks to a late goal
  • This extended the winning streak to five
Rose Lavelle of Gotham FC
Rose Lavelle of Gotham FC / Jonathan Jones-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, NJ/NY Gotham FC welcomed San Diego Wave FC to Red Bull Arena for the Juneteenth match.  The two teams sat in fourth and ninth place respectively entering the game.  The Bats wanted to continue their unbeaten streak while the California team was seeking their first win in over a month.

In addition, Gotham FC wanted to grab their first win over San Diego.  They almost did it on the West Coast in the previous match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.  Moreover, since the Wave has been struggling, the thought was that this fixture would be the perfect time to grab all three points.

However, the injury bug continues to hit Gotham.  The list has been long all season, and thankfully the depth has illuminated the talent on the squad.  Still, the team was without multiple offensive players, for Esther González, Ella Stevens, and Lynn Williams were all out.  Hence, the pressure was on for players like Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle, and Yazmeen Ryan to find the back of the net.

In the end, Gotham FC figured it out and scored twice to beat the San Diego Wave 2-1. This was their first win over the team in club history. Moreover, this extended the unbeaten streak to nine matches and the winning streak to five.

Gotham FC beats the San Diego Wave for the first time

The first half saw Gotham FC outplay San Diego.  To start, both teams were pressuring each other when they were without the ball.  The Bats had the edge though, for they caused more giveaways and were able to intercept.  Plus, there were more chances created, which turned into more shots.  The home team had nine shots with six on target.

Most of the first 45 minutes saw fantastic play, but lackluster shots.  They were predominately easy saves for the Wave’s goalkeeper, Kailen Sheridan.  At least, that was until stoppage time.  Rose Lavelle had other ideas.

Katie Stengel had stolen the ball from San Diego and found the USWNT midfielder.  Lavelle had some space, so she decided to chance a shot from outside the box.  With precision and power, she scored on a golazo shot.  The ball went over Sheridan and into the top left side of the goal.  This will clearly be nominated for the goal of the week.

Sadly, that joy of going ahead did not last long.  Gotham was shaky coming out of the second half, leading Ann-Katrin Berger to make a major mistake early on.  She gave the ball away, which in turn allowed Mya Jones to score her first goal.

The home team did grow into the second half, but the San Diego side was completely different.  This led to back-and-forth play for the rest of the fixture, with the Wave at times outplaying the Bats.  It did not help when Lavelle came off around the 60th minute as well.  She controlled the midfield and had some beautiful passes, especially in the first half.  She was the impact player of the match.

Alas, Gotham FC continued to fight. There were plenty of weak chances that were blocked or ended in easy saves. The difference was the continued brilliant passes up the pitch and numerous crosses into the box.

It was not until stoppage time in the second half that the winning goal was scored. The Bats were in the middle of an attacking sequence where they had a few chances to find the back of the net. Jenna Nighswonger sent the ball near Maycee Bell, who brought it down by slightly extending her right leg beyond Makenzy Doniak. This caused the San Diego player to move slightly to her right, giving space to Bell. It was an awkward shot, but the ball fell into the goal, subsequently earning the win for Gotham FC.

This was exactly what Gotham FC needed, especially with the Washington Spirit coming to town this weekend. One can only imagine what would have happened if some of the injured attackers were available. They found a way to take all three points and Bell scored her first NWSL goal in the process.

At the same time, the larger crowd at Red Bull Arena witnessed an entertaining match. The ladies put on a show for the fans. Truthfully, except for the beginning of the second half, this was Gotham FC's best game of the year. Can they do the same thing on Sunday?