Ifeoma Onumonu set up Gotham FC’s goal. (Jeremy Reper / ISI Photos)
ORLANDO, Fla. – Nursing a one-goal lead for virtually the entire second half, NJ/NY Gotham FC could not hold onto it.
The visitors surrendered a goal at death’s door and settled for a 1-1 draw with the Orlando Pride in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Exploria Stadium Sunday night.
Orlando (3-0-3, 12 points) remained atop the NWSL, while fourth-place Gotham FC (8) moved to 2-1-2. The New Jersey side has scored only three goals in five matches.
Defender Caprice Dydasco lifted Gotham FC into the lead in the 45th minute, but fullback Courtney Petersen equalized in the 90th minute in a game played in humidity and 90-degree temperatures.
“It was a bit of a tricky match,” Gotham head coach Freya Coombe said. “Obviously it’s never easy coming down to these tropical conditions. We didn’t give a good account of ourselves in the first half. We made it too easy for them to recover the ball. We weren’t good enough in possession and moving the ball. A bit more of pleasing second half for sure, but didn’t make good enough decisions in those final closing moments to be able to see out the win and I think that’s an area for our growth.”
The first half was a back and forth affair with both teams having looks on goal. The stalemate was finally broken in the final minute of the half. Gotham FC got a break after Evelyne Viens picked up a missed pass from Orlando and found Sodam Lee, who played Ifeoma Onumonu the ball. Onumonu saw Dydasco making a run on the right flank and as the latter put the ball over goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris into the far left post to give Gotham FC a 1-0 lead.
Despite a more possession oriented game for Gotham FC in the second half, Orlando nearly equalized on several occasions.
Nearing the end of regulation in what looked to be the first loss of the season for Orlando, Petersen made a run down the left flank and took a shot to the far post out of keeper Kailen Sheridan’s reach for the late equalizer.
Gotham FC will travel to Cheney Stadium to take on OL Reign Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. The team will return home to Red Bull Arena the following week on Friday, July 2 to face Kansas City.