Abby Smith was flawless in goal for Gotham FC. (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
HARRISON, N.J. – Goalkeeper Abby Smith made six saves to preserve Gotham FC’s scoreless draw with the Orlando Pride in National Women’s Soccer League action at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night.
Smith produced a first-half save as she parried a shot over the crossbar, a double save in the waning minutes before halftime, and a diving, second-half stoppage time save to preserve the clean sheet and a point for Gotham.
Gotham FC (4-2-1, 13 points) was fortunate to get out of of the match with a point against ninth-place Orlando (2-4-1, 7).
“We know the standard that we hold ourselves to,” Smith said. “We want to be better and we want to win every game, but at the same time, we have to take the little wins. A shutout is big, so we’ll take a point.”
Gotham FC had a near-finish in the 12th minute, when midfielder Kelley O’Hara broke through the center of the park, placing a ball in-stride for forward Taylor Smith to strike on target. The forward’s shot rattled off the near post.
In the 59th minute, Gotham FC midfielder Kristie Mewis drew a foul outside the box. The U.S. women’s national team midfielder’s set piece hit the inside of the wall.
In the 84th minute, as forward Delanie Sheehan sent a pass into forward Yazmeen Ryan on the left side. Ryan’s shot on goal was saved by Orlando Pride goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse.
“I think it’s a performance that we can build off of,” Taylor Smith said. “We were hoping to get two consecutive wins at home back-to-back, but I think the pieces are coming together and hopefully we can get a win next game.”
Gotham FC maintained 56 percent of the possession and showed the versatility of its lineup by moving players into different positions throughout the match. Forward Taylor Smith started at left wing up front before switching to right back late in the first half.
“We have the collective,” head coach Juan Carlos Amoros said. “I think the work that we do as a group, as a team, and the understanding of everyone that comes in the game, to change position and understand their roles, whatever it is. It’s not only the back line and the goalkeepers that have been excellent, but also the rest of the team.”
Ali Krieger and Allie Long were recognized on Mother’s Day as the team celebrated the Asian-American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.
Gotham FC’s next two matches are on the road, at OL Reign on Sunday, May 21 and at Washington Spirit on Sunday, May 28. The team will return home on June 4 for a Pride Night match against Alex Morgan and the San Diego Wave.