HARRISON, N.J. – Gotham FC’s home opener did not go according to plan as it lost to OL Reign, 2-0, in a National Women’s Soccer League match at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.

Jess Fishlock and Bethany Balcer scored on either side of halftime for OL Reign.

No attendance was announced, in a game was delayed by approximately 90 minutes by lightning strikes in the area.

“This is a huge lesson for us, and better to have it now than later in the season,” midfielder Yazmeen Ryan said. “I know that moving forward we’re going to learn from this.”

Gotham FC took five shots in the first half, including two in the 11th and 45th minutes on plays from Midge Purce to Kristie Mewis, respectively.

In the 31st minute, Rose Lavelle sent a through ball to Fishlock, who found the bottom right corner to open the scoring. Balcer made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute, scoring off a scramble for the loose ball after an OL Reign corner kick.

“What I would like to highlight is how the team kept fighting and kept going forward until the final whistle,” said Gotham head coach Juan Carlos Amorós said.

The hosts used five substitutions. At the start of the second half, Jenna Nighswonger subbed in for Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir. In the 58th minute, McCall Zerboni subbed in for Kelley O’Hara, and Victoria Pickett came in for Mandy Freeman. O’Hara, wearing the captain’s armband with Ali Krieger sidelined with an injury, gave the armband to Allie Long. In the 69th minute, Sinead Farrelly made her Gotham FC debut, subbing in for Ryan, and Taylor Smith entered the game for Bruninha.

Gotham FC owners Eli Manning and Carli Lloyd ignited a new pre-match tradition before kickoff. Joined by members of Gotham FC’s official supporters group, Cloud 9, Manning and Lloyd led a torch lighting ceremony celebrating the connection between the team, fans, and New Jersey-New York Community. The torch lighting will take place at every home match and feature the club’s supporters and special guests – including local heroes, celebrities, professional athletes, and other dignitaries.