Photo Credit: Michael Franco

OL Reign Outlasts NJ/NY Gotham FC at Red Bull Home Opener

On Saturday, April 1, NJ/NY Gotham FC kicked off their home opener at Red Bull Arena against OL Reign after an hour and a half weather delay in a matchup that saw the Reign win 2-0. Gotham falls to 1-1 on the season.

Gotham midfielder Sinead Farrelly made her long awaited return to the NWSL in the 70th minute of the match. Allie Long also returned to Red Bull Arena after being on maternity leave the season before.

This comes as a disappointing score line as the team defeated Angel City FC in the NWSL opening weekend 2-1. Video assistant referee (VAR) did seem to play a part in that win, but they couldn't get the same calls as the week prior. The lack of flow within the midfield contributed to the 2-0 loss against the star-studded Reign as few passes found their way through the middle. Despite the loss, Gotham had a few good offensive moments that gave them the spark they needed to keep pushing for a goal.


In the 31st minute, the Reign struck first. Rose Lavelle dribbled the ball down the sideline before cutting to the middle of the field, and sending a through ball to Welsh international Jess Fishlock. Fishlock took a one-touch strike, firing the ball passed Abby Smith and into the goal. OL Reign had the 1-0 lead.

Again in the 62nd minute, Reign scored. Lavelle sent the corner into Gotham's box, and Long attempted to clear the ball out of the box, but it went behind her. Kristen Edmonds tries to clear the ball right in front of her net, but Bethany Balcer got the final touch as it rolled into the back of the net. The Reign led 2-0.

One of the best chances Gotham had all game came early in the 13th minute. Lynn Williams dribbled around Sofia Huerta to cut in toward the box. In the process of looking for options, Williams' cleat flies off and she makes the pass cleatless to Kristie Mewis at the top of the box. Mewis found Margaret "Midge" Purce toward the back post where she took a shot, but it was deflected out wide by Reign's defender Sam Hiatt.

Even with the few chances Gotham had, they did not record a single shot on target. Overall, the team recorded 10 shots compared to OL Reign's nine, but the Reign had five shots on goal. Smith ended with three total saves and Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce had none, courtesy of the two blocked shots from her teammates.

Gotham did have 50.3 percent of the possession and 73.1 percent passing accuracy compared to Reign's 49.7 percent and 72.5 percent passing accuracy.

What’s Next for NJ/NY Gotham FC?

Gotham returns to the pitch on Saturday, April 15, against the Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium at 7 p.m. You can watch NJ/NY Gotham FC on Paramount+.


About The Author