Kelley O’Hara and her Gotham FC teammates will be ready for the Spirit. (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)

Gotham FC will face the Washington Spirit to kick off the NWSL Challenge Cup at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday at (7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+).

In 2022, Gotham FC finished third in the East group of the competition after earning six points (1-2-3). This year, the club has its sights set on a Challenge Cup championship after coming close to winning it twice.

During the 2021 tournament, Gotham FC advanced to the championship match, but lost in a shootout to the Portland Thorns (6-5).

In 2020, the Challenge Cup launched as the first professional team sporting event to return to play in United States after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that year, the squad made it out of group play and advanced to semifinals before falling to the Chicago Red Stars.

Following the match on Wednesday night, Gotham FC will host a media availability via Zoom.

Gotham FC Challenge Cup leaders

Midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi scored against Washington Spirit in 2022, as the fifth player to record two career goals in the competition. Kawasumi joined forwards Midge Purce, Paige Monaghan, Carli Lloyd and Évelyne Viens in the record book, who are all past or present players with goals.

Gotham FC Challenge Cup history

Gotham FC advanced out of group play in each of the first two Challenge Cup tourneys, appearing in the semifinals in 2020 before falling in penalties to the Portland Thorns in the 2021 final.

Gotham FC topped the North Carolina Courage, 4-3, in the 2021 Challenge Cup. North Carolina was the only team to score on Gotham in the group stage that year.

Gotham FC has a 5-6-6 record in the tournament, with a 2-2-3 home record and 3-4-3 road mark.

2023 – Closing the gap

UKG has doubled the prize pool for the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup, bringing the first million-dollar prize pool to U.S. professional women’s soccer.

Next up

After the Spirit match, Gotham FC returns to RBA for a regular season match on Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET against the NC Courage.