NJ/NY Gotham FC looked to bounce back after a loss to the San Diego Wave last weekend. The team welcomed Racing Louisville FC to Red Bull Arena on Sunday with 25 points. Three points were needed to win to stay in the race for first place.
Before the game began, players on both teams voiced their support for Jenni Hermoso. The Spanish international was sexually assaulted by RFEF president Luis Rubiales when he kissed her without consent during the World Cup win celebrations. This led to a sequence of events where Spain's Football Federation called Hermoso a liar, Rubiales refused to resign, and then FIFA had to step in and suspend him.
For the match itself, the team was without multiple players, including the three who went off injured last weekend: Abby Smith, McCall Zerboni, and Midge Purce. That did not matter entirely, for the depth of the squad this year is strong.
Alas, like their neighbor NYCFC, Gotham could not find the back of the net. They were the better team, but the scoring boots were missing in action. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. As a result, the points were shared. With the season winding down, three were truly needed.
Gotham and Louisville share the points in a 0-0 draw
The first half was a little quiet with some back-and-forth football. Neither Gotham FC nor Louisville screamed they were the stronger side. It was not until the end of the half in stoppage time that Gotham had the best chances. They had multiple opportunities in the box to shoot or make the attempt, but nobody could capitalize and score. Katie Stengel's shot was the closest, but the ball hit the post.
The second half was more active, and Gotham outplayed their opponent. Throughout the 90 minutes, the home side outshot their visitors 19 to nine. On target, the difference was five to one. However, Louisville's goalkeeper, Katie Lund, had other ideas. She had five saves on the night and is a big reason why the night ended 0-0.
Moreover, some of the offensive shots by Gotham were lackluster and easy saves. No one could score due to poor shots and a solidified defense from Louisville.
One of the best chances in the second half came around the 81st minute. Lynn Williams, who came on as a substitute, took a fast-paced shot outside of the box. It was one of those shots that the goalkeeper could easily make a mistake by not immediately reacting. But Lund was at the top of her game and quickly responded to the shot.
The inability to score was the theme for the evening. Yes, Gotham was able to earn a point. Yet, the ladies must win at home if they want to finish the season in first place, let alone make the playoffs. Only four points separate them and the seventh-place team.
On a positive note, everyone finished the match healthy. At least, that appeared to be the case at the end. Therefore, NJ/NY already did better than the fixture in San Diego. Ideally, no other player will suffer an injury for the final stretch of the season.
Next, NJ/NY Gotham FC will travel to North Carolina to take on the Courage. This will be a difficult match and will likely reveal why it was vital to grab the three points on Sunday.