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Match Recap: Lynn Williams Scores Record-Breaking Goal to Lead Gotham FC to 2-1 Win Against Chicago Red Stars

Ella Stevens scores game-winning goal and second goal in back-to-back games

HARRISON, NJ – NJ/NY Gotham FC picked up three points at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night, as the club defeated the Chicago Red Stars 2-1. Forward Lynn Williams made National Women’s Soccer League history with her 79th goal in all competitions. Williams is now the sole leader of goals across all competitions, passing former NWSL star forward Sam Kerr. Additionally, forward Ella Stevens scored the game-winning goal against her former club and has scored in back-to-back games. 
Gotham FC started the match on the front foot and was connecting early in the final third. The club’s first opportunity on goal came in the ninth minute when midfielder Rose Lavelle glided to the endline, weaving her defender back and forth, and then drove a pass across the box. Forward Esther was on the receiving end and fired a shot first time, but it went just over the crossbar. 
In the 31st minute, forward Yazmeen Ryan had an opportunity of her own when she received the ball in open space at the top of the box. She ripped off a shot from distance but it went just over the crossbar. 
To close the half, Gotham FC led Chicago in most major stat lines, including possession (58%-42%) and total shots (8-1).
Gotham FC settled back in at the beginning of the second half and picked up right where it left off. The club had a few early looks to begin the half. 
However, Chicago had an opportunity in the 53rd minute. Chicago forward Mallory Swanson found space behind Gotham FC’s backline and had a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger. Swanson fired a shot but a quick reaction from Berger denied the opportunity. 
Quickly after, Gotham FC also found an early opportunity when midfielder Delanie Sheehan served a ball into the box. Esther redirected the ball towards goal with her head, but Chicago goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood had to make a stretching save to tip the ball over the goal. 
Gotham FC broke through with Williams’ record breaking goal in the 57th minute. After building out of the back, defender Jenna Nighswonger streaked down the flank and served a lofted ball into the back post towards Esther. The Spanish forward volleyed it back across the face of the goal to Williams who headed the ball into goal, making history. 
Chicago responded with a goal in the 75th minute by forward Penelope Hocking. 
Gotham FC put the finishing touches on today’s match with a goal from Stevens in the 90th minute, to secure the 2-1 victory over the Red Stars. Nighswonger stepped up to take a corner-kick and played the ball to the backside, where Stevens came crashing in to bury the header at the death.
Gotham FC will travel to play Bay FC on Friday, May 24 at 10 p.m. ET (Prime).


Gotham FC Head Coach Juan Carlos Amoros 
Thoughts on the win and Lynn breaking the record…
“Congratulations to Lynn, she deserves that record for her work everyday and her career is a moment of pride for all of us – especially happy for her. I think the game is kind of like… we’re a team that wants to do certain things. Today the players were outstanding and they executed the game plan, they believed from start to finish. We also know that we have to be resilient. Again we were dominating. Finally, we took the lead with a fantastic goal. It seems we have to score with these amazing goals. Unfortunately, a corner and it’s 1-1. That’s the moment you need to show character, personality, and believing in what you are doing. That’s what the players did and that’s why they kept pushing. They play to get the corner is how it is and then execute things like the set pieces that can make the difference, so congratulations to Ella, she’s doing amazing for us, she’s growing. For her to come on and that was the plan, we were going to need her in that second half and I’m extremely happy she was able to score that goal. There were so many things today to highlight, if you go player by player, the back line, and I think the job of Maycee Bell on Mallory Swanson tonight was something remarkable for a rookie in her second start. Being given the responsibility to mark one of the best players not only in the league but in the world and did what she did was amazing. The back line and midfield dominated again and players coming on from the bench. I think it is credit to the whole roster and credit to everyone who was on the pitch but also the ones who were not on the pitch, so I’m very happy. 
On load management heading into summer… 
At the moment, we make sure to go day-to-day. We make sure that we protect our players as much as we can. That’s why we have a high-performance team and medical team that works day-in day-out to make sure the players are as fit as possible. Not only in the short-term but also long-term. That’s why you may see some players come off at certain times, or like today there was a little bit of a worry, so we wanted to make sure that nothing gets worse. I think that it is important that we individualize the attention with load and the work they do, and prepare them for the next game. We put a lot of emphasis on injury prevention, not to solve the problem but to stop the problem from happening. That is the key. That is where we are putting a lot of effort. You can see sometimes with the subs I do or the lineups, that’s how we actually take it into place.
Gotham FC forward Lynn Williams 
On her record-breaking goal…
I do not get the goals without my teammates. I have played with so many incredible people over the ten years. I just owe it all to them. I can’t put away any of those goals without them. It has just been incredible to have those people as teammates. I could just go through the list of all of the incredible teammates that I have had. I think that when you’re in it, you don’t really get to reflect. It is moments like this that I really cherish and value. I haven’t had a moment to debrief, but I’m sure I will go home and sit with (fiancé) Marley (Biyendolo) and just think about all ten years. Hopefully that is not my last goal, I’m not done yet. It is just a moment in my career that I get to reflect, and then we keep moving forward.
On her mindset heading into the match…
I obviously knew that last week I tied the record. In a moment like that, when the goal was so open, I just said to myself to focus on your form and don’t let your eyes get too big because I feel like those are the goals that are the easiest to miss. I obviously missed another sitter. Your eyes just get big, and you’re like ‘this is your moment.’ I just said, Lynn just focus, put the ball in the goal and when that finally happened I was just so ecstatic. I was excited that me and Ester connected for a goal, and I was also just excited to be in that area. With our fans, and also my fiancè in the stands. To have that moment altogether as a team, but also as just a larger community, and then also one on one. It just felt like I had every moment in my life with me if that makes sense. And then at the end of day, we were winning at that moment. So yes, it’s one moment to reflect. But then we have a whole game like I didn’t score in the 90th minute. We still had a lot of game to play. So I refocused and got back out there, we had a lot of game to play.
Gotham FC forward Ella Stevens
On her first few months with the club…
The first few months have been great. Obviously, at first coming in it’s just a completely new environment, new players, a new style of play. It took some time to adjust and learn what Gotham likes to do on and off the ball. All of the players have been so helpful in every position, giving me pointers and talking to me on the field, and everyone new, trying to assimilate us into this culture. It’s gone really well.
On going up against her old team…
I tried not to think about it too much coming into the game. I just wanted it to be another game. I think I can work myself up if I start thinking about things like that. I just tried to stay focused on the play and the ball, and not think too much about who I was playing.
Key Match Notes

  • Forward Lynn Williams broke the NWSL all-competitions record with her 79th goal, moving past Sam Kerr. It was also her 10th regular season goal for Gotham FC, making her the sixth player in the league to score 10 or more goals for three or more different clubs. Williams’ 67 regular season goals remain second in league history behind Kerr (77).
  • Forward Ella Stevens scored for the second straight contest, securing the game-winner against her former club in the 90th minute.
  • Forward Esther picked up her first NWSL assist on Williams’ 57th-minute opener and completed 26 of her 31 passes.
  • Defender Jenna Nighswonger passed out her second assist of the season on Stevens’ game-winner.
  • Midfielder Rose Lavelle made her first Gotham FC start and created three chances
  • Defender Emily Sonnett completed 50 of 53 pass attempts.
  • Gotham FC is undefeated in its last five matches.
  • Gotham FC has scored in its last five matches and last five home games.
  • Gotham FC has now won or tied in its last 17 matches when scoring first.
  • Gotham FC has kept a first-half clean sheet in six of nine matches.

Gotham FC vs. Chicago Red Stars
May 19, 2024 – Red Bull Arena
Goals by Half               1       2          F
Gotham FC                   0       2          2
Chicago                         0       1          1
Scoring Summary:
NJY: Lynn Williams 57′ (Esther), Ella Stevens 90′ (Jenna Nighswonger)
CHI: Penelope Hocking 74′
Misconduct Summary:
NJY: Delanie Sheehan (YC, 27′), Lynn Williams (YC, 90′)
CHI: Jenna Bike (YC, 28′)
NJY: Ann-Katrin Berger, Sam Hiatt (Tierna Davidson 66′), Emily Sonett, Jenna Nighswonger, Maycee Bell (Bruninha 82′), Nealy Martin (Maitane 82′), Delanie Sheehan, Rose Lavelle (Ella Stevens 61′), Esther, Lynn Williams ©, Yazmeen Ryan (Crystal Dunn 66′)
CHI: Mackenzie Wood, Maxi Rall, Sam Staab, Natalia Kuikka, Tatumn Milazzo, Cari Roccaro, Leilanni Nesbeth (Elizabeth Franklin 90′), Mallory Swanson ©, Penelope Hocking (Ally Cook 90′), Ally Schlegel (Julia Bianchi 66′), Jenna Bike (Jameese Joseph 66′)

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