Harrison, NJ (06/04/2022) – The Washington Spirit took its second loss of the 2022 regular season Saturday night. NJ/NY Gotham FC shut out the defending champs and used a 21st-minute goal from Midge Purce to earn the side’s third victory of the season.
NJ/NY Gotham FC started the match strong with several scoring threats in the opening ten minutes. In the fourth minute, Kristie Mewis crossed a ball to Midge Purce deep in the box but Purce’s header went wide right. Two minutes later, Midge Purce sent another header toward goal, this time one that had to be tipped over the crossbar by Aubrey Kingsbury and out for a corner. Kingsbury then punched out an ensuing cross from Gotham to close the early threat from the home side.
In the 16th minute, Sam Staab was able to block a close-range shot attempt from Purce before Purce sent a shot high later in the same minute. Gotham found the back of the net in the 21st minute when Ifeoma Onumonu received a through ball, broke away and crossed to a wide open Purce who buried the ball for the early 1-0 lead. Despite the open shot, a recovering Emily Sonnett was nearly able to make it to the goal line in time to clear the ball.
After Kingsbury made a save on a close-range shot on goal from Kristie Mewis in the 31st minute, the Spirit was able to put an offensive chance together when Ashley Sanchez fired a hard shot from outside the box just wide right in the 34th minute. The ball went back to Gotham’s attacking third with Paige Monaghan rifling a 42nd-minute shot on goal from distance that had to be saved by Kingsbury just three minutes before a loose ball out front was covered up by the defending goalkeeper of the year.
Late in first half stoppage time, the Spirit looked prepared to level the score when Ashley Hatch broke away from the Gotham defense and took a shot on goal that keeper Michelle Betos had to lay out to turn away. As the ball rolled off to the right side of the goal, Bayley Feist charged in to attempt a shot on the open net but Betos was able to win the race as she gained possession and sent the match to halftime.
Early in the second half, Tinaya Alexander and Taylor Aylmer came close to combining for the equalizer but Betos bested the attack once again. Alexander crossed a ball to Aylmer in the 53rd minute and Aylmer was able to head the ball on goal before a diving Betos knocked the shot aside. The Spirit had another two good scoring chances over the course of the next 15 courtesy of Julia Roddar and Aylmer. In minute 60, Roddar took a shot from outside the box that was saved by Betos and, seven minutes later, Aylmer had a good look from inside the top of the box but sent her shot slightly high.
Except for an Amber Brooks header that missed the net to the right in the 75th, the Spirit wasn’t able to put together an effective scoring threat in the final minutes of regulation. Aubrey Kingsbury made another diving save in the 86th minute to keep the margin at 1-0 but the visiting side couldn’t capitalize on its extensive time of possession before the final whistle signaled Gotham’s second straight win.
The loss for Washington comes a month to the day after the side’s most recent win, a penalty kick shootout victory over OL Reign in a 2022 Challenge Cup semifinal at Audi Field. The Spirit will head to Bridgeview, Illinois next Wednesday to face the Chicago Red Stars for the second time in a week before returning home to host the North Carolina Courage next Saturday night at Segra Field.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Washington Spirit
Date: June 4, 2022
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Weather: mostly sunny, high-70s
NJ/NY – Midge Purce – 21’
NJ/NY: 1- Michelle Betos; 28- Imani Dorsey; 22- Mandy Freeman (12- Gina Lewandowki 87’); 11- Ali Krieger; 3- Caprice Dydasco; 8- Taryn Torres (5- Nicole Baxter 88’); 7- McCall Zerboni; 4- Paige Monaghan (7- Nahomi Kawasumi 82’); 19- Kristie Mewis; 23- Midge Purce; 25- Ifeoma Onumonu (2- Cameron Tucker 82’)
Unused Substitutes: 6- Jennifer Cudjoe; 51- Hensley Hancuff; 21- Ellie Jean; 14- Delanie Sheehan; 13- Kumi Yokoyama
WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 21- Anna Heilferty (25- Marissa Sheva 73’); 3- Sam Staab; 6- Emily Sonnett; 4- Karina Rodriguez (14- Morgan Goff 62’); 16- Julia Roddar; 12- Andi Sullivan (22- Amber Brooks 46’); 13- Bayley Feist; 10- Ashley Sanchez (7- Taylor Aylmer 46’); 33- Ashley Hatch; 17- Tinaya Alexander (29- Maddie Elwell 62’)
Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 18- Devon Kerr
Stats Summary: NJ/NY / WAS
Shots: 14 / 7
Shots On Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Shots Blocked: 4 / 0
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offsides: 1 / 1
NJ/NY – Paige Monaghan – 74’ – Yellow Card
WAS – Bench – 83’ – Yellow Card
NJ/NY – Michelle Betos – 89’ – Yellow Card
WAS – Morgan Goff – 90+8’ – Yellow Card