Gotham FC supporters can’t be disappointed with how yesterday’s home opener ended: Despite being out possessed, outplayed, and thoroughly outshot by an NC Courage side that is undefeated four games into the 2022 NSL Challenge Cup, Gotham drew the game and salvaged a point courtesy of an 84th-minute header from Nigerian international Ifeoma Onumonu. It was the team’s only shot on goal.
Gotham now sit in third place in Group A with five points after four games, just three points out of first place.
Gotham FC: 9 shots, 1 on goal, 42% possession, 345 passes, 74% pass accuracy
NC Courage: 19 shots, 7 on goal, 58% possession, 466 passes, 83% pass accuracy
While Onumonu’s goal might dominate the highlight reel, it was the defense that kept Gotham in the game.
Gotham head coach Scott Parkinson gave Queens native Michelle Betos her first start of the season in goal, and he was repaid for his trust. Betos kept Gotham in the game, making six saves and denying one dangerous Courage attack after another. The defense was anchored by a back three of Imani Dorsey, Estelle Johnson, and Gina Lewandowski, and together they weathered a Courage side that dominated the run of play and bossed the midfield.
Caprice Dydasco, the 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year, was given a more advanced role in a four-player midfield, but her biggest play of the day was a goal-line clearance that saved Gotham’s scoreline.
Both of the game’s goals came off set pieces. In the 25th minute, Courage forward Debinha curved a free-kick past the outstretched hands of Betos. It was the second goal of the year for the Brazilian international.
Onumonu’s game-tying header came off an inch-perfect corner kick from midfielder Kristie Mewis. It’s always satisfying when a play from the training ground translates to a competitive game.