As NJ/NY Gotham FC begins a new era, the club started the NWSL 2023 season with a 2-1 win tonight over Angel City after second half goals by Lynn Williams and Midge Purce, key saves by goalkeeper Abby Smith, and superb defensive play in the final minutes gave Gotham FC the victory.
Gotham FC Triumph Over Angels In Thrilling Season Opener
Report from Gotham FC
“I’m extremely proud of the team,” said Gotham FC Head Coach Juan Carlos Amorós. “I thought in the second half we showed a lot of character and we deserved to win the game. I’m very, very happy with the performance. They looked like a team that has been together for two years instead of two months.”
Williams’s game-winning goal came in the 65th minute off a deft pass from Midge Purce, who received the ball from Yazmeen Ryan. Purce made a brilliant play to freeze the Angel City defense and send the ball to her right perfectly for Williams, who fired it inside the far post. For Williams, it was her 58th NWSL goal – most among U.S. players in league history – and her 16th game-winner in the NWSL. After being sidelined last season with an injury, it was Williams’ first NWSL goal since October, 2021.
“We’ve been practicing 3v2 and 3v3 a lot,” said Williams. “When Midge flipped me the ball, I said, ‘Just hit the target.’ And it went in.”
Said Amorós, “Lynn showed so much composure and quality on that goal.”
Purce scored the game-tying goal at 55’ on a penalty after Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir, who subbed in for Kelley O’Hara at the start of the second half, was brought down by Angel City goalkeeper Didi Haračić during a scoring attempt in the box. Composed and with pinpoint accuracy, Purce scored in the top right corner.
The penalty was the first in league history awarded after a review by VAR, which is making its debut this season in the NWSL. Gotham FC did not score a goal on a penalty last season.
Alyssa Thompson opened the scoring for Angel City in the 11th minute with a strike over the outstretched arms of Smith. Four minutes later, a goal from distance by Jun Endo of Angel City was called back after a review by VAR. Soon after, Smith – making her Gotham FC debut after signing with the club as a free agent – made a spectacular save off a free kick to keep the deficit at one goal, and later made key saves in the second half to help lead her new club to victory in the Season Opener.
“Abby was very good,” said Amoros. “It’s never easy when you concede that first goal. She really grew as the game went on. I was very happy for her. She proved why she can be a starter for our team.”
The incredible drama of the come-from-behind win near Hollywood was best described after the game by Purce.
“That was a crazy movie,” she said.
Up Next: Gotham FC Home Opener
Gotham FC’s highly anticipated home opener against Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, and OL Reign is on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Red Bull Arena. Tickets are now on sale for the home opener HERE.