Gotham FC couldn’t make use of the support voiced by 15,058 fans – officially the largest home crowd in club history –to break down a well-prepared San Diego Wave at Red Bull Arena.
The Goths failed to register a shot on target until deep into second-half stoppage time, and those efforts fell well short of the needed response to Makenzy Doniak’s 46th-minute winner. San Diego allowed the hosts plenty of possession but frustrated them with a compact backline and the green light to take long-range shots.
The Wave’s two holding midfielders and a solid four-player defense were too much for Gotham. This forced the Goths to take efforts out wide in the first half, and hopeful, but unsuccessful shots from outside the box in the second half. Nothing worked. Yazmeen Ryan’s crosses went without a target, while Jenna Nighhswonger’s went out of play. McCall Zerboni was given space to shoot twice in her half-hour substitute appearance, but watched both fly off target.
San Diego handled Gotham’s attacking attempts. Allie Long’s efforts didn’t spark a chance, even when she was pushed back into defense. Ali Krieger was more successful in beating lines on her own than with passes in the air. But San Diego’s defenders easily cleaned up these attempts. Krieger has forced lucrative errors recently, even when her delivery wasn’t the best, but it didn’t work on this day.
San Diego head coach Casey Stoney sought to absorb Gotham’s play and counter-attack through Sofia Jakobsson and Alex Morgan. San Diego had less possession (39.8) but created more dangerous chances. Morgan found herself with space to run at goal and needed to be stopped by trailing runs, forcing Lynn Williams to track back. Jakobsson spearheaded a counter after a 50th-minute corner kick that had her one-vs-one with Ellie Jean from more than half the field.
The one-goal loss keeps spirits from dropping too low, especially given that things could’ve gotten worse.
This week will be a quick turnaround for the Goths, as they’ll host the Orlando Pride on Wednesday in Challenge Cup play.