Ifeoma Onumonu: “It’s always been difficult to play the Spirit for us, but I’m optimistic about it and I think we’re starting to find a rhythm within the team.” (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
HARRISON, N.J. – NJ/NY Gotham FC will try to keep its perfect record intact when it visits the Washington Spirit Tuesday night.
The game from Audi Field will be streamed on Paramount+ and Twitch (international) with kickoff set for 7 p.m. ET.
Gotham FC (2-0-0, 6 points) is coming off an 11th-hour 4-3 home win against North Carolina Courage last Tuesday night, which positioned them atop of the East group. Gotham FC controls its destiny as the only team in the East without a loss.
Forwards Midge Purce and Ifeoma Onumonu lead the team in goals and assists, respectively, and have played major roles in Gotham FC’s recent success. Purce scored two vital goals in her return from international duty against the Courage and Onumonu created both game-winners.
“It always feels good to be able to contribute to the team and get us points when they’re needed,” Onumonu said. “Going into our upcoming game against the Washington Spirit, it is going to be a hard one. It’s always been difficult to play the Spirit for us, but I’m optimistic about it and I think we’re starting to find a rhythm within the team.”
Washington (1-2-0, 3) is coming off a 1-0 road loss at Orlando Pride Wednesday. The Spirit defeated Racing Louisville FC, 1-0, April 15. The team has been dominant in games, but has struggled to be clinical in the attacking final third. The squad is first in the tournament on shots and shots on target. Forwards Trinity Rodman and Kumi Yokoyama have been the team’s biggest threats with two goals and an assist between them, while forward Ashley Hatch individually leads all players for total shots.
U.S. international Kelley O’Hara made her Spirit debut against the Pride, in what turned out to be an eventful night for the defender. In search of an equalizer after an early Pride lead, O’Hara had a stunning goal off a free kick called back by referees in the first half and was red carded in the final moments of the game, rendering her out for the Gotham matchup Tuesday.
“Going into this game against the Spirit, we’re looking for the combination and consistency to build upon our last two games,” Gotham FC head coach Freya Coombe said. “For us, it’s about being able to control their ability to switch the field and go and use both wide areas and make it more predictable and compact.”
After Tuesday’s match, Gotham FC will conclude its Challenge Cup group play with another home game against Racing Louisville FC Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET at Montclair State University Soccer Park’s Pittser Field. The match is sold out.