NJ/NY Gotham FC (3-4-0, 9 pts) welcomed San Diego Wave FC (5-2-3, 18 pts) for a match and their Juneteenth celebration. The visitors earned a decisive three-goal victory to put themselves into first place in the league going into the International break.
What You Came For
With only twelve teams in the league, the presence of National Team players make for a solid draw for any NWSL match. Many fans arrived to Red Bull Arena in Wave FC gear, and the loudest applause went up for Alex Morgan when she was announced in the Starting XI for San Diego. The difference maker of the match, Morgan tallied a brace for herself during her seventy minutes on the pitch. In the 20th minute, Morgan received the ball from Taylor Kornieck and nutmegged Gotham 'keeper Ashlyn Harris to open the scoring. Paige Monaghan tried to answer with a goal for the home side quickly after, but the attempt sailed over the net. Morgan doubled San Diego's lead in the 43rd minute with some fast reflexes in the box.
What You May Not Have Expected
The first ten minutes of the match were a slow burn, but the home team held strong. Gotham nearly picked off Wave GK Kailen Sheridan to open the scoring themselves in the early minutes of the match. Attacker Ifeoma Onumonu forced the first San Diego save soon after. While NJ/NY had several perfectly weighted passes, they weren't quite finding their targets- a 74% pass accuracy on the day. Onumonu created another chance for herself in the waning minutes of the first half, but was denied by the woodwork. Only a quarter of Gotham's shots on the day were on frame (13/3), a frustrating effort for the home side. Wave FC's Makenzy Doniak capped the effort for the visitors with a goal in the 68th minute. While Gotham pressed onward, the threat they showed in previous matches was greatly diminished. None of the shots on goal came in the second half, and the team seemed disjointed in the final third.
The women's International break begins after this weekend's matches. Among the call-ups are Gotham's Kristie Mewis and Midge Purce. Gotham will return to Red Bull Arena to face the Chicago Red Stars on July 2nd. The time away might just be what the squad needs to make a new push this season.