Midge Purce produced some magic in the 76th minute. (Howard Smith Photo)
Midge Purce snapped a 2-2 tie in the 76th minute to lift NJ/NY Gotham FC to a 3-2 win over the Washington Spirit in a National Women’s Soccer League match in Leesburg, Va. Sunday night.
Fourth-place Gotham FC (16 points) improved to 4-1-4, while the seventh-place Spirit (15) dropped to 4-3-3.
“It was one that got the hearts racing a little bit,” Gotham FC head coach Freya Coombe said. “Obviously having ten players for Washington made a big difference. That always makes it difficult to break down sides that look to drop in, keep it compact, and then catch you on the transitional moments. Credit to them for staying in the game in that way and making it very difficult for us to score.
“Bit of a nail biter but managed to have the quality of the final call for the third goal which was pleasing and making sure we have players and runners in the box. Great competitive game all around. Happy to come away with three points.”
Midge Purce earned a free kick right outside the top of the box in the seventh minute as defender Sam Staab was shown a red card, giving the visitors a player advantage for the remaining 83 minutes.
Despite that, Washington capitalized on an opportunity set up by Andi Sullivan. In the 13th minute, Sullivan played a ball over the top to Trinity Rodman on the left flank. Rodman drove the line, cut to the right, and buried a curler past goalkeeper Didi Haracic for her first goal at Segra Field.
Gotham FC equalized from a Naho Kawasumi goal in the 24th minute. After Caprice Dydasco lofted the ball in from the corner flag, Kawasumi tucked the ball into the left corner. The momentum did not stop there for Gotham FC as captain McCall Zerboni headed the ball past keeper Audrey Bledsoe in the 35th minute to put the visitors on top, 2-1.
The Spirit equalized in the 56th minute as Ashley Sanchez’s free beat Gotham’s wall as she pinged the ball inside the net.
In the 76th minute, Ifeoma Onumonu delivered a pass to set up Purce for a promising shot on net. The Gotham FC forward used her right foot to beat Bledsoe in the bottom left corner for a 3-2 advantage.