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RECAP: Gotham Topple Courage in Decisive 2-0 Playoff Performance

by Anthony J. Merced

Gotham FC win their first ever playoff game, advancing to the NWSL semi-final following a 2-0 win over North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday night. Delanie Sheehan and Yazmeen Ryan scored at the end of both halves in order to give Gotham a well deserved win over the third place team in the league.

Gotham showed little to no fear against the Courage who were playing with numerous injuries but attempted to challenge the away side. Both clubs played evenly in the midfield with Gotham getting the better of North Carolina on the wings. Lynn Williams in particular rushed past the wingbacks to create numerous opportunities. None of them were converted until just before the halftime whistle when Sheehan appeared to be attempting a pass that beat the Carolina goalkeeper for the opening goal.

Gotham followed this up with an effective attack in the second half but couldn't find the deciding goal. That was until stoppage time when a counter attack saw Williams race into the box with Ryan to her right. A decisive pass left Ryan with an easy goal that solidified the game and sends Gotham through to one of their biggest games ever against Portland next week.

The win affirms the positive trail that Gotham has blazed under head coach Juan Carlos Amoros in his first season in charge. The club not only makes the playoffs after finishing last in 2022 but also gets their first win and will have a chance to go to their first ever NWSL final should they progress past the Portland Thorns in two weeks. 

STARTING XI:

Gotham FC: Haught; Bruninha, Lopez (90' Jean), Kreiger, Nighswonger, Ryan, Martin, Sheehan, Williams, Gonzalez (83' Farrelly), Purce (90' O'Hara)

NC Courage: Murphy; Williams, Kurtz, Berkley, Fox, O'Sullivan, Miura (79' Gejl), Tompkins, Matsukubo (64' Pinto), Ratcliffe (64' Hopkins), Boade (79' Madsen)

SCORING SUMMARY: 
45' (Gotham FC) Delanie Sheehan assisted by Bruninha
90' (Gotham FC) Yazmeen Ryan assisted by Lynn Williams

DISCIPLINE:
14' (Gotham FC) Maitane Lopez - YELLOW CARD
35' (Gotham FC) Nealy Martin - YELLOW CARD
47' (NC Courage) Manaka Matsukubo - YELLOW CARD
81' (NC Courage) Brianna Pinto - YELLOW CARD

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