Gotham FC celebrates one of their four goals. (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
SEATTLE, Wash. — For the first time in almost a decade, Gotham FC finds itself atop the National Women’s Soccer League table.
In a comprehensive performance, Gotham FC recorded a 4-1 victory over the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners OL Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday.
Gotham (5-2-1, 16 points) extended its unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1), before a crowd of 8,146 at Lumen Field.
Jenna Nighswonger, Lynn Williams, Taylor Smith and Bruninha scored for the visitors. The last time Gotham FC recorded four or more goals was on April 20, 2021 against the North Carolina Courage in a 4-3 win.
“I think that everyone has in their mind last year’s Gotham, and that’s not this year’s Gotham,” Williams said.
Added head coach Juan Carlos Amoros: “Football is not how it starts; it’s how it finishes. Obviously for us it’s a moment of pride, but we just need to keep working. Next, we will have another difficult challenge going to Washington, so now we start preparing for that game.”
In the 10th minute, Nighswonger, who started at defense, scored from distance, burying the ball into the bottom right corner, off an assist by Kristie Mewis. The goal was Nighswonger’s second of her rookie season.
Two minutes later, Williams beat her defender, before going 1 v 1 with goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce on before depositing the ball into left corner of the goal. It is the quickest two goals in team history in a regular season game.
“I think that when I’m having joy in playing, I play my best soccer,” Williams said. “I think that that was happening tonight. I say this all the time: ‘With soccer, no matter how much pressure we put on ourselves and how much stress we put on ourselves, at the end of the day it’s a child’s game, it’s supposed to be played with joy and happiness.’ ”
Gotham FC made it 3-0 in the 38th minute, when midfielder Sinead Farrelly passed to forward Delanie Sheehan, who then played to forward Taylor Smith. Smith struck her shot from the center of the box into the left side of the net. Gotham became the first NWSL team to score three goals against OL Reign in the first half.
In the 24th minute, Gotham FC goalkeeper Abby Smith, the NWSL player of the week, made a huge save after forward Jordyn Huitema broke through the defense for a shot from the left side. She came up with another first-half save in the 44th minute, grabbing forward Bethany Balcer’s attempt.
Smith made another crucial save in the 59th minute, coming out to block Balcer’s shot on a counter attack.
Brazilian international defender Bruninha scored her first NWSL career goal goal to finish Gotha’s scoring.
Reign forward Huitema finished off a corner kick in the 77th minute to spoil Smith’s try for a clean sheet.
With Sunday’s performance, Gotham FC became the first NWSL team to score three goals against OL Reign in the first half. The last time Gotham FC scored four or more goals was April 20, 2021 against North Carolina, where the final score was 4-3.
Attendance at Lumen Field was 8,146.
After an away game against the Washington Spirit on Sunday, May 28, Gotham returns to Red Bull Arena on Sunday, June 4 for a Pride Night match against San Diego Wave.