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Gotham FC Beat Thorns In Season Opener

NJ/NY Gotham FC opened consecutive regular seasons with a road victory after the reigning National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champion defeated the Portland Thorns 1-0 at Providence Park on Sunday.

Sam Hiatt playing for Gotham FC
Sam Hiatt defends during the second half. Photo by Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports

Portland Thorns 0 Gotham FC 1

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The up-tempo match started with end-to-end chances from both sides in the first half. Right from the opening kickoff, Gotham FC came out immediately pressing, as 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Esther recorded a shot that hit the outside netting in the first minute. 

The Thorns returned the dangerous opportunity in the third minute, when Gotham FC held a high line on a Portland counterattack. However, the center back tandem of Tierna Davidson and Sam Hiatt caught Thorns forward Sophia Smith in an offside position that called back a fastbreak goal. 

As the first half continued, Gotham FC goalkeeper Cassie Miller made a point-blank, kick save in the 10th minute. Just a few minutes later, Esther attempted a bicycle kick in the 14th minute that went straight into the goalkeeper’s hands. Then, in the 34th minute, a combination play, featuring Gotham FC defender Jenna Nighswonger, midfielder Emily Sonnett and forward Crystal Dunn, saw Dunn earn the club’s first corner of the match.

After an exciting start, both teams went scoreless into the half. 

Second Half

In the 61st minute, Smith received a ball over the top and cut inside from the left flank for a strike near the top of the box into the top corner. Following a video review, the goal was disallowed due to Smith starting in an offside position. 
The Gotham FC game-winner came in the 72nd minute, when midfielder Delanie Sheehan switched the point of attack to find Bruninha on the right flank. Bruninha sent the ball up to forward Yazmeen Ryan, who sent a low, driven ball across the box that Esther finished in the back of the net. 
The goal marked Esther’s second consecutive game-winning goal for Gotham FC after scoring the NWSL Championship game-winner on Nov. 11, 2023. Esther also scored the game-winning goal in Gotham FC’s preseason tournament final to win the Women’s Cup Colombia tournament. 
With the match winding down, Miller came up with another huge save in the 75th to preserve the result.



Cassie Miller celebrating with Gotham FC teammates
Gotham FC goalkeeper Cassie Miller celebrates. Photo by Troy Wayrynen - USA TODAY Sports
gotham fc logo

Next Game

Gotham FC will next face the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET (NWSL+).  

Portland Thorns fans
Fans in the stands. Photo by Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports
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