Late equalizer sees Gotham FC draw 1-1 with Seattle Reign in 2023 Championship rematch

  • Rose Lavelle scored her third goal in the last five games for Gotham FC
  • Seattle Reign FC escaped with a point from a stoppage-time own-goal
Rose Lavelle of Gotham FC
Rose Lavelle of Gotham FC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After their first loss since April last week against the Washington Spirit, NJ/NY Gotham FC could not get back to winning ways after a 1-1 draw with Seattle Reign FC. This was the first time the two teams met each other since last season's NWSL Championship match.

It has been a season of contrasting fortunes for the two teams since last season's final. Despite a slowish start to the season, Gotham has been able to kick on from last season's championship win and continue their good form. They currently sit fourth in the table just about keeping pace with the two undefeated teams at the top, the Kansas City Current and the Orlando Pride.

Seattle has seen their fortune swing in the opposite direction. They currently sit 13th in the table with only two wins on the season and are just two points ahead of expansion team Utah Royals in last place. They lost a number of key players in the offseason with club legend Megan Rapinoe retiring and high-profile free agents Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett signing with Gotham.

Combined with a core of players getting a year older and an in-flux ownership situation that started during the offseason and was only just resolved in the past few weeks, it is understandable why this has been such a trying season for Seattle.

Gotham FC's game ended in a frustrating result

The first half of this game was a fairly even and relatively low event. Both teams had opportunities but neither looked overly threatening during the first 45.

That quickly changed though as Gotham FC came out flying in the second half and Lavelle scored her third goal in her last five games. The play started with a great long-ball forward from Jenna Nighswonger who managed to evade clearing attempts from two Seattle defenders. This allowed her to find Ella Stevens inside the 18-yard box. Stevens then managed to find Lavelle just outside the six-yard box who slotted the ball home to give Gotham the 1-0 lead.

Gotham then took control of the game with the ball hardly ever entering their own defensive half until the 71st minute. A shot from Reign defender Sofia Huerta went off both posts before falling to forward Bethany Balcer who saw her rebound attempt saved off the goal line by goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

Things then started to shift Seattle's way late in the game with them starting to knock on the door for an equalizer. They eventually managed to find one in the last sequence of play in the game as in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time. A free-kick from Quinn near the center line, unfortunately, came off of the head of second-half substitute Nealy Martin and looped past Berger. This saw Seattle steal a draw in New Jersey.

After looking like they had come away with a win until the last second, Gotham FC will have to settle for a draw as they drop points two games in a row for the first time since April.

It was an overall good performance from Gotham and a nice bounceback from their poor showing last weekend against Washington. They will obviously be disappointed to drop points like they did, especially at home against a team near the bottom of the table

Some notes from this game include the return from injury for Lynn Williams. She came on as a substitute in the 76th minute marking her return to the field for the first time since she broke the NWSL all-time goalscoring record on May 19 against the Chicago Red Stars.

This was also the final home match before the NWSL breaks for the Olympics. They have one more road match next Saturday at Angel City FC. Gotham is sending at least six players to the Olympics via the United States Women's National Team.

There is still a chance for more as Bruninha for Brazil and Esther González for Spain have a chance of representing their countries. Sadly, the Spaniard's injury has kept her out since June 8 and may keep her off Spain's roster. Final rosters are due on July 3 with the women's tournament kicking off on July 25. Gotham FC will know who else will be gone by then.