Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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NWSL Match Preview: NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-2-1) at OL Reign (4-2-1)

Lumen Field | Seattle, Washington – Sunday, May 21 at 6:00 PM ET

Players to watch:

OL Reign attacker Megan Rapinoe has scored 13 career goals against Gotham FC, equaling the second most by any player against a single opponent in NWSL history behind only Christine Sinclair vs. Chicago (16). Rapinoe has five goals in her last three matches against Gotham, including braces in each of the last two at home. Leading the charge up front in the scoring department is not Rapinoe though, but instead forward Bethany Balcer and midfielder Jess Fishlock, each of whom have scored three goals on the year so far. 

Both OL Reign and Gotham have conceded just six times this season, tied for the second-best defense in NWSL this year behind only leads Washington (5). Gotham goalkeeper Abby Smith has saved 83.9 percent of the shots on goal she’s faced this season (26/31), the best mark in the league. In attack, forwards Lynn Williams and Midge Purce have contributed 85 percent of the team’s goals (Williams – 4, Purce – 2), with only teammate Jenna Nighswonger’s one goal coming from outside that dynamic duo.

Match facts: OL Reign return home to face Gotham FC in the last of six games across the league this weekend. The Reign have won all three of their home contests to date, outscoring their opponents 8-2 in that run while collecting two shutouts along the way. Meanwhile, Gotham is back to two games unbeaten after a win against Chicago was followed up by a 0-0 draw against Orlando last week.

OL Reign’s seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions ended Sunday with a 1-0 defeat to North Carolina. The Reign haven’t lost consecutive matches in a single season since June to July 2021, with one of those defeats coming at home against Gotham. Lumen Field has been very good to OL Reign in 2023 as well, with the club going three-for-three against San Diego, Chicago, and Houston.

Gotham FC’s scoreless draw with Orlando on Sunday took it to 13 points on the season (W4 D1 L2), equaling its total from all of last season. With victories already at Angel City, Orlando, and Chicago, Gotham has matched its away win total from 2022 and is the only team with three regular season road wins this year. On the road in total this year, Gotham has picked up nine points (W3 L1) in its four games away, the most of any team. 

OL Reign has won four straight matches against Gotham FC, including a 2-0 road victory on April 1. This is OL Reign’s second four-match winning streak over Gotham, also recording four straight wins in 2018-19. Gotham avoided defeat in all five matches between those two Reign winning streaks (W3 D2, all competitions). 

Mikey Balhan Sports

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