Rose Lavelle saves Gotham FC in 1-1 draw against Louisville while concerns remain

  • Gotham FC and Racing Louisville FC played one another, with both teams looking for their second win
  • The match ended in a 1-1 draw
  • Rose Lavelle was a hero, but concerns remain for Gotham
Gotham FC
Gotham FC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It was a beautiful Sunday evening when NJ/NY Gotham FC welcomed Racing Louisville FC to Red Bull Arena for an important match for the Bats.  The visitors were unbeaten with a 1-0-4 record entering the game.  Meanwhile, the home side desperately needed to pick up a win.

After Crystal Dunn was on the bench for the last few fixtures, she earned a start in the midfield.  This was something fans have been calling for, not understanding why she did not start the last two games.  Additionally, the newest player, Ann-Katrin Berger, was between the sticks for the first time.  In some ways, this probably answered that she would start over Cassie Miller.  The move was slightly confusing, but perhaps Abby Smith will be out longer than expected.

Nevertheless, Gotham FC put out another strong Starting XI despite their never-ending injury list.  At the very least, Sinead Farrelly, Mandy Freeman, and Rose Lavelle were all on the bench after being listed as questionable.  Could the NJ/NY side find a way to score and earn all three points?

The answer is yes and no.  Gotham FC scored one goal but failed to earn all three points.  Instead, they shared the spoils in the 1-1 draw with Racing Louisville.

Gotham FC’s goal-scoring struggles continue after draw

When the match started, it was all Gotham FC.  The team had three shots with all of them blocked within the first two minutes and controlled the game within the first five.  Things did slow down though, with both teams settling in.  That did not stop the offensive efforts though.  In the first half, they had eight shots, but only one on target.  The fact there were no goals is incredible, but it might have to do with many of the shots being blocked.

Meanwhile, it was clear Dunn’s inclusion in the Starting XI made a difference.  Her work rate in the midfield made a difference in Gotham’s ability to get into the attack.  Of course, she took her chances, but they were lackluster at best.

The second half was not any better, but one of the best chances on the night came in the 49th minute.  Lynn Williams took a shot on an angle, which forced Katie Lund to push the ball away.  Then, Dunn was right in front of the goal, but Carson Pickett was able to clear the ball off the line.  It was a frustrating moment that highlighted the goal issues.

When Gotham FC entered the box, they attempted to appear threatening.  Racing Louisville realized early on that the Bats were not that scary.  They easily defended and kept the home team out of goal for the majority of the game.

When they were in the box or near the goal, the fight was there, but it was almost like they turned off a little bit.  It did not look like the exciting Gotham team fans saw during their NWSL Championship run.

It was not until Lavelle, after a long wait, made her debut as a substitute in the 74th minute.  She had an incredible first appearance and showed off her ability to move the ball in the midfield.  She also scored the team’s only goal to earn a point. It was during her time on the pitch, especially in stoppage time, that the team had the most fight.

Berger also had a fantastic save on Louisville’s first shot on target in the 78th minute to show off her talent.  Needless to say, she had a quiet night due to the defensive effort by the backline.  They limited Racing’s opportunities, shutting down some of their talented forwards.  At least, that was the case until second-half stoppage time.  Reilyn Turner put her team up a goal first after the one defensive mishap.

But again, Lavelle scored the lone goal to level the match in stoppage time a few minutes later. Bruninha sent the ball into the box, and Lund could not handle the ball, allowing it to fall to the midfielder. As such, Lavelle took her shot, and it somehow with a little pace and luck rolled into the back of the net.

In the end, the concern about the goal struggles grows tremendously after every game.  It does not make sense.  Is it the players?  Is it tactical?  Gotham FC needs to figure it out very quickly if they want to compete in 2024.  19 shots is great, but not when 12 of them are blocked. A 1-1 draw at home is not good enough. The Bats must be better.