Kansas City NWSL Opens July with First-Ever Matchup Against NJ/NY Gotham FC NWSL KC

The Latest | Jul 01, 2021

Kansas City NWSL Opens July with First-Ever Matchup Against NJ/NY Gotham FC

HARRISON, N.J. (July 1, 2021) — Following an action-packed stretch of three matches in six days, Kansas City NWSL returns to the pitch on Friday night. Head Coach Huw Williams’ squad is leaving the friendly confines of Legends Field for a road tilt against NJ/NY Gotham FC at 6 p.m. CT. Friday’s match marks the first meeting between the two sides, and the first broadcast locally on KSMO-TV.

Gotham FC (3-1-2) enters Friday on a three-match unbeaten streak, the most recent of which was a dominant 3-0 victory over OL Reign on June 26. Currently, Gotham sits in fifth place in the NWSL table, marking the fourth consecutive match Kansas City NWSL has played against a team in the top half of the league standings. Kansas City (0-6-2), meanwhile, enters Friday on the heels of a heartbreaking 2-1 home loss to the Washington Spirit on June 26. The visitors stole three points off a goal by Spirit rookie forward Trinity Rodman in the final minutes of the match. 

KANSAS CITY LOOKING TO CONTINUE RECENT TREND OF FAST STARTS 
After suffering a scoring drought through several games, Kansas City NWSL has jumped out to quick starts in each of the team’s last two matches against the Orlando Pride and Washington Spirit.

Capping an impressive first-half performance last Wednesday against Orlando, Kansas City forward Mariana Larroquette punched in a corner kick to give the hosts a 1-0 lead eight minutes into first-half stoppage time. Unfortunately, Orlando equalized late in the first half with a goal from forward Sydney Leroux. The Pride went on to score two more goals in the second half, securing a 3-1 victory.

A similar narrative unfolded last Saturday against Washington, as Kansas City once again struck first. A goal from forward Amy Rodriguez not only marked the fastest goal in Kansas City NWSL’s young history, but also gave KC a 1-0 lead. Kansas City then held Washington scoreless for over 70 minutes, but the Spirit scored twice in the closing minutes. 

Despite the results, Kansas City can take solace in the fact that it has started both games extremely well. Getting out to another hot start on Friday will be crucial against a Gotham FC team that doesn’t make many mistakes defensively. 

GOTHAM FC BOASTS NWSL’S BEST DEFENSE 
Kansas City has already gone toe-to-toe with some of the NWSL’s best offenses this season in previous matchups with the Portland Thorns and Orlando Pride, but Friday’s match presents a different challenge. Gotham have played a league-low six matches but have conceded just two goals in the regular season, the lowest total in the NWSL.  

Gotham FC has recorded four clean sheets and only conceded goals to Portland and Orlando. The team lost 1-0 to the Thorns but was able to scrape a 1-1 draw with Orlando. Gotham boasts a variety of solid defenders, anchored by Mandy Freeman and Caprice Dydasco, both of whom have started each of Gotham’s six matches in the regular season.  

Gotham’s usual first-choice goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan is away with the Canadian National Team in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Sheridan has played in five matches for Gotham FC and kept three clean sheets and is also second in the NWSL with 27 saves. Goalkeeper Didi Haracic started the one game Sheridan missed, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over OL Reign on June 6.  

PLAYERS TO WATCH 
Kansas City NWSL: Defender/Forward Mallory Weber — Weber has been Kansas City’s jack of all trades this season, appearing in all three phases of Williams’ starting lineups over the course of the 2021 Challenge Cup and regular season. Weber made her first appearance on Kansas City’s backline last Saturday against Washington and excelled, starting, and playing, 90 minutes against one of the NWSL’s top teams. Weber made an impact both making tackles defensively and going forward offensively against Washington and should make an impact against Gotham no matter where she lines up. Weber has appeared in seven matches for Kansas City in the regular season with four starts.

NJ/NY Gotham FC: Forward Midge Purce — The 25-year-old winger is a crucial piece of Gotham’s attack and enters Friday’s match following a brilliant performance last Saturday against OL Reign. In the first half, Purce played an inch-perfect through ball ahead of forward Ifeoma Onumonu, who dribbled around the Reign’s goalkeeper to give Gotham FC a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute. Purce then extended Gotham FC’s lead in the second half, using her pace to blow past the Reign’s defense and slot a through ball into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead in the 60th minute. In total, Purce has two goals and one assist in five matches this year and should enter Friday’s showdown with Kansas City brimming with confidence.   

HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG 
Friday’s match is the first of eight games this season to be broadcast locally on KCTV and KSMO. Brad Porter and Aly Trost will deliver the action to fans throughout the KC Metro area. In addition, the local broadcast will be simulcast on Sport Radio 810-WHB. Nationally, Friday’s match will be streamed live on Paramount+.

 

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