Good things come to those who wait.
Gotham FC beat North Carolina Courage 1-0 last night at a storm-ridden Red Bull Arena to earn their third league win of the season. An 80th-minute strike from Lynn Williams was enough to secure the Goths three points at home.
“We came out after the delay and we knew that it was really important for the next 45 minutes for us to stay focused and to work really hard,” goalkeeper Abby Smith said of the performance. “After a three-game week, it’s really hard on us to turn around and keep playing the way we were playing. We set the standard really high but I think that these are our standards going forward.”
Gotham FC: 19 shots, 6 on goal, 48% possession, 407 passes, 72.2% accuracy, 9 fouls
North Carolina Courage: 10 shots, 3 on goal, 52% possession, 444 passes, 67.1% accuracy, 10 fouls
Lighting was the cause of a roughly two-hour-long pause that began at the halftime break. The flurry of first-half chances didn’t match the excitement in the sky: Yazmeen Ryan was denied by the post in the 37th minute, missing her first Gotham goal by just a few inches. The 24-year-old was found in space by Kristie Mewis and took a few touches before firing her left-footed shot against the woodwork.
North Carolina had its best chances in the 58th minute, forcing Abby Smith into a double save to keep the scoreline empty. The visitors won the ball in midfield before a series of passes found Narumi Miura deep into Gotham’s eighteen-yard box. Miuras’s eventual cross found Brittany Ratcliff, whose first attempt was parried by a sliding Smith. The 29-year-old shot-stopper reacted quickly to make a kick save to deny Ratcliff’s immediate follow-up.
Torrential rain limited attacks to long-range efforts during the second forty-five. Taylor Smith, Mewis, and Williams all tested their luck from outside the box but saw their attempts end up over the crossbar.
Williams comes through again
Williams would find the eventual winner but with a much higher xG effort.
Gotham opened up play through Ryan, who earned herself space along the end line after shedding Courage defender Kiki Pickett. Ryan was patient to let the Courage backline trail the decoy run of Mewis before picking out Williams in space. The US Women’s National Team forward made no mistake with her right-footed attempt, finishing her third goal in as many games.
“Driving down line and taking space was a big difference, not crossing it too early but taking the time to do my 1v1.” Ryan said. “The spaces were just a little bit more open because we got to switch early and then soon as I took that touch inside, I knew that there was going to be open players at the top of the box so it’s just a matter of making sure that the pass was quality and set my teammate up for success.”
Gotham begins a two-game road trip with a visit to Children’s Mercy Park to take on the Kansas City Current on Sunday, April 30 at 6 pm ET.