Gotham FC needs to beat Racing Louisville once in its final two matches to reach the postseason. (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – One point was better than none for NJ/NY Gotham FC.
The New Jersey-based team needs a win in its final two matches to clinch a berth in the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs after battling Kansas City to a 1-1 draw Friday night.
Unbeaten in its six games, Gotham FC (8-5-9, 33 points) is in fifth place at 8-5-9 and 33 points.
Both teams were without some regular players due to national team commitments, including starting goalkeepers. For Gotham FC, DiDi Haracic filled in for Kailen Sheridan, on duty with Canada, while Katelyn Rowland stepped up for KC as Adrianna Franch represents the United States.
In an end-to-end game marked by numerous close chances, Midge Purce found the range for the visitors in the 23rd minute. McCall Zerboni set tup the score after winning the ball in the Kansas City half. Purce then took on three KC defenders and fired a low shot from the top right corner of the box, slipping it past an outstretched Rowland. It was her team-leading ninth goal this season and fourth in three games.
Haracic made two leaping saves to keep the hosts off the scoreboard. With four minutes remaining in the half, Purce nearly doubled the lead with a header off a free kick that was snagged by Rowland.
In the 44th minute, defender Erica Skroski attempted a tackle on KC forward Kristen Hamilton inside the box as referee Alexandra Billeter awarded the hosts a penalty kick. Kristen Edmonds converted, Kansas City’s second in franchise history, to even the score as the seconds ticked down until halftime.
Haracic came up big again on the houru to deny a close-range shot from Lo’eau LaBonta. Zerboni just missed the left post in the 71st minute off a low cross from Jennifer Cudjoe.
Gotham FC will finish its four-game road campaign Thursday, Oct. 28 at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Ky., before returning home to Red Bull Arena to host Racing Louisville in the last matchup of the regular season Oct. 31.