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Instant Reaction: Gotham FC's defense carries team to title match

Goalkeeper Mandy Haught and the defensive line haven't allowed a single goal in postseason play, and now the Goths are going to the NWSL Championship Final.

Gotham FC goalkeeper Mandy Haught has two clean sheets in two NWSL Championship playoff games | Courtesy Gotham FC

Goals win games, and Gotham FC couldn’t beat the Portland Thorns 0-1 on a rainy night in the Pacific Northwest without the exquisite shot Katie Stengal curled inside the far post in the 107th minute. 

But a Gotham defense that has yet to allow a single goal this postseason is proving to be the engine that’s driving the team’s improbable run to the NWSL Championship Finals with two upset wins on the road. 

Mandy Haught is our POTM

With all due respect to Gotham defender Jenna Nighswonger, who was named Player of the Match by FotMob, goalkeeper Mandy Haught had the game of her life tonight. The shot-stopper is credited with just three saves, but she was dynamic in the box, scooping up loose balls and aggressively defending her goal against the best attack in the NWSL.

You have to remember that Haught wasn’t supposed to be here. The 25-year-old began the season on the bench, and was called into action only after regular starter Abby Smith suffered an injury in stoppage time during the 2-1 loss to the San Diego Wave on August 19. She started in the final six matches of the season, when the team logged a record of one win, three draws, and two losses. 

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