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HARRISON, NJ(SMI-GLOBAL-WOMEN-SPORTS OCT 15-19, 2023)-The Gotham NJ/NY FC(Soccer) concluded its 2023 season games with a 2-2, draw against Kansas City, securing a post-season spot for the third time in club history, and on Gotham's captain Ali Krieger final career soccer game at the RedBulls Arena, in Harrison, NJ.

With the 2-2 draw, Gotham NJ/NY finished the 2023 season with a 8-7-7, overall record and advances to the NWSL playoff quarterfinal rounds as 6-Seed to face 3-Seed North Carolina Courage on Sunday Oct 22, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.

With the final playoff spot on the line and in need of a win or tie to sneak into the WNSL postseason play, Gotham went to the offensive from the start and scored two goals in the first 15-minutes of the first half.

Top-striker Margareth Purce opened the score for Gotham at 6' mark when midfielder Delanie Sheehan intercepted a clearing pass off K.C defender Alex Loera's foot  and immediately passed it to Purce who from inside the 18' kicked a hard left-footed ending in back of the net to put The Goths in front 1-0, sending the crowd wild in celebration.

Nine minute later, in another counter-attack through the right-side field Gotham's defender Kristen Edmonds gave a rolling pass to midfielder Yazmeen Ryan who ran inside the 18' and scored with a right-footed at the opposite left goal post corner  after maneuvering and evading 4-defenders to increase the lead of 2-0, for the Goth at 14' in the first half.

What it appeared to be a comfortable 2-0, lead and secured victory for Gotham, Kansas City answered back with 2-goal of their own in a span of 10-minute to even the game 2-2, with ten minute left in the first half.

K.C. forward Alexa Spaanstra scored her second goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1, at the 26' minute mark. Current's defender Alexa Loera kicked a long pass from downfield to Spaanstra to the right-side field corner and who cut into the center and scored with a looping left-footed over the head of Gotham goalkeeper Mandy Haugh after evading two defenders inside the penalty box. 

Kansas City found the equalizer 10-minute later to make 2-2, when during a breakaway through the left-side field, midfielder Debinha cut inside the 18' and crossed the ball to striker Kristen Hamilton but it deflected off Gotham's Jenna Nighswonger foot that ended in back of the net for own goal at 35' to closed out the half 2-2.  

In the second half, both teams traded counter-attacks without finding the net and game ended 2-2, and the Goth qualifying to postseason play ahead of the Orlando Pride with 31 points and 1+ goal differential in the standing.

After the game, Gotham hosted a farewell retirement ceremony to 2-time FIFA WNST champion and Olympic  defender Ali Krieger who played her last match of her career on Season finale game against the Kansas City Current at Harrison Arena, in Harrison, NJ.

Gotham FC will travel to play the North Carolina Courage in the quarterfinals of the 2023 NWSL Playoffs on Sunday, Oct. 22 (7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports).  

Article Written & Photo By Marcello Cutti II/Starlight Illustrated


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