Gotham FC had several reasons to celebrate its Challenge Cup win. (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
HARRISON, N.J. – Gotham FC got off to a perfect start in the NWSL Challenge Cup, recording a 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night.
Forward Lynn Williams scored in the 56th minute and goalkeeper Mandy Haught kept a clean sheet in her first appearance this campaign.
Across all competitions, Gotham FC has won three of its first four matches to start the season, going 2-0-1.
Williams scored off a scramble in front of the net. Kristie Mewis directed the ball to Williams, who scored with a composed left-footed strike to the far post.
“I trust Lynn,” Mewis said. “We have a good thing going, so I pinged it back to her. She’s on fire right now so you knew it was going to go in.”
It was the U.S. women’s national team forward’s third goal over four matches this season.
“I still feel like we have a lot of room to grow, but when you’re winning and learning, it’s a great thing,” Williams said. “The way Gotham FC has welcomed me, I feel like I’ve been here forever. I love being with this team.”
Gotham FC carried play at the start of the game, with forwards Ifeoma Onumonu and Svava Guðmundsdóttir earning scoring chances in the first five minutes. The playmaking skills of left back Bruninha also created opportunities. In the first half, Gotham FC was credited with seven shots to Washington’s two. Possession was 50-50, with the Spirit’s best scoring chance coming in the final minute of the half.
After Williams’s goal and a series of substitutions in the 63rd minute, Gotham FC continued to control play and locked down defensively to preserve the victory. For the game, Gotham FC led Washington 12-5 in shots, and 5-2 in shots on goal, and was credited with a slight edge in possession.
“We have a really great understanding as a unit of what we’re supposed to do,” Gotham FC midfielder McCall Zerboni said. “When everyone is on the same page like this, you see the results.”