It was a beautiful new day for NJ/NY Gotham FC who managed a convincing 3 - 1 win against the North Carolina Courage Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. With this win, Gotham FC snaps their 7 game winless streak and moves back into a playoff spot.
Saturday's match also marked the highly anticipated return of wingers Margaret "Midge" Purce and Paige Monaghan from injuries. Purce had not played since early August, and Monaghan had not played since late June. Purce and Monaghan did not disappoint, scoring a goal a piece.
Terrific team goal by Gotham.
Lloyd > Onumonu > Purce pic.twitter.com/uwt9qNSiIH
— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) September 25, 2021
North Carolina's single goal was scored in the 20th minute by Welsh national player Angharad James off a poor clearance from Gotham FC.
In the 26th minute, Purce would earn a penalty for Gotham FC, which was converted by Carli Lloyd for the team's first goal of the afternoon. Less than 10 minutes later, Carli Lloyd would provide an excellent pass forward for Ifeoma Onumonu, who then passed the ball across the goal for Midge Purce to convert in the 36th minute. Two second half subs would combine for the team's final goal in the 82nd minute with Evelyne Viens providing a long ball for Paige Monaghan who was making a run on the break during a counter attack.
This high energy game saw 7 yellow cards, 5 of which were given to Gotham FC players. Gotham goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan continued to solidify her position as one of the top shot stoppers in the league with 4 saves.
Team captain McCall Zerboni was named player of the match for her solid performance in the midfield, including making a number of important recoveries.
— NJ/NY Gotham FC (@GothamFC) September 25, 2021
Saturday's game was considered a must-win for a team that was struggling under a transitional period with the departure of their former head coach Freya Coombe. This win marks the first for new head coach Scott Parkinson. This was Parkinson's first game with the team, and it appears that a fresh start was just what Gotham FC needed.
After the game, both Ifeoma Onumonu and Margaret "Midge" Purce highlighted the importance of their on-field partnership. Purce, pointing back to their time with former NWSL club Boston Breakers and youth team experiences, noted that the longevity of their relationship translated to their ability to link up successfully during games. Gotham FC had not won a game since July 25, which was the last full game Purce played for the team before an injury sidelined her on August 1 in a game against the Houston Dash. It appeared that Purce's return was just what Gotham FC needed to take home all three points.
The Final Stretch
With only six more games, will Gotham FC maintain their playoff spot and make it into the postseason? The team will travel to Lynn Family Stadium and take on Racing Louisville on October 1st. The match will stream on Paramount+ domestically, and Twitch internationally. Gotham's final home game at Red Bull Arena will be played on October 31st.