The former Sky Blue FC has not been able to win in Orlando since 2016, however it was the newly rebranded NJ/NY Gotham FC that started off its Challenge Cup with a win at Exploria Stadium against the Pride.
"A win's a win. It feels really good to start this year with a W. We learned a lot of things from the first game already and I’m excited to get back to work with the team,” said Gotham FC Forward Paige Monaghan.
While Monaghan's goal was spectacular as always, it was the impressive defense that really stole the show in the tightly contested match. With each member of NJ/NY Gotham FC's backline recording a passing accuracy percentage of over 75 percent or better and Keeper DiDi Haracic recording seven saves, the Pride had no answer for this vastly improved defense.
It was also DiDi Haracic's communication with veteran center-back Gina Lewandowski that was one of the keys to victory on Wednesday Night. “We spoke about me keeping a higher line and defending the space behind the backs but also having our center backs on the same line when the ball is being played long. At times we weren’t together so just dropping the line as a unit,” said Keeper DiDi Haracic.
Three Points For NJ/NY Gotham FC
With the win in Orlando, NJ/NY Gotham FC earned three points in their 2021 Challenge Cup campaign and is tied atop the standings in the East Division.
Next up, NJ/NY Gotham FC's defense will once again be put to the test as NWSL rival, the North Carolina Courage, comes to town in a match-up for the top of the East Division standings.
Fans wishing to catch the game can view it on Tuesday, April 20 at 6pm ET on Paramount+ . Limited tickets have been made available and the match is expected to be a sellout.