Match Recap: Rowland’s Clean Sheet Lifts Courage Over Gotham FC
HARRISON, NJ (Sept. 4, 2022) — Behind a stellar performance from goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland, the North Carolina Courage topped NJ/NY Gotham FC on Sunday, 1-0. The match also featured an own goal off Gotham defender Mandy Freeman, though the initial shot came from Courage midfielder Fuka.
“We needed that,” Katelyn Rowland said. “We needed those three points as a collective group. We knew that coming in it was a big game, so we were focused on our performance and playing well. We were patient, we created opportunities when we needed to, and sometimes we didn’t capitalize but we did on one. It was energizing.”
The first half saw multiple chances from the Courage’s Diana Ordóñez and Tess Boade, each creating opportunities for the other but both keepers would come up huge for their respective teams, but Gotham’s Michelle Betos kept the net clear of Courage goals through the first 45. Incidentally, Sunday marked the NWSL starting debut for midfielder Boade, who joined the Courage in March 2022.
“I found out yesterday before training,” Boade said. “I’ve been training hard for six months, just waiting for an opportunity. Obviously we’ve had really good players out this week, so it’s exciting to get the chance to step up and fill a role that the team needed.”
“I was thinking about how we were going to play the spaces we wanted to expose,” Courage Head Coach Sean Nahas said. “And I felt that she could do a good job of getting into those little pockets and getting on the ball. That’s something that suits her. She did a good job of it.”
Coming out of halftime, both teams got back to work, but Gotham really stepped up their game, forcing Courage keeper Katelyn Rowland to pull out some of her best saves of the season. Tested by dangerous Gotham free kicks at the top of the 18, Rowland continued to stump the hosts.
Finally, in the 81st minute, Fuka put an end to the wait. The Japanese international blasted a shot on frame, but a deflection off Gotham defender Mandy Freeman is what sealed the deal, sending the ball sailing past Betos and into the back of the net.
“It was a gritty result,” Nahas said. “Katelyn Rowland stood on her head today, she was absolutely brilliant. You find a way and that’s important, but I felt like we were hesitant in the final third, everything slowed down when we got into the final third. The game was just too up and down for me. But we got three points on the road and now we get to come home and play a few games.”
Up Next: The North Carolina Courage return home to take on Racing Louisville FC on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. ET. The match will also feature the team’s annual Star Wars Night and tickets can be purchased here. Watch live on Twitch Global.
- Tess Boade earned her first career NWSL start.
- Fuka netted her second goal of the season.
- Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland made five saves in Sunday’s match, putting on a clinic and earning her first clean sheet of the regular season.
NC: Katelyn Rowland, Carson Pickett, Abby Erceg ©, Kaleigh Kurtz, Ryan Williams, Meredith Speck, Brianna Pinto, Fuka, Tess Boade, Jaelene Daniels, Diana Ordóñez
NJNY: Michelle Betos, Taylor Smith, Mandy Freeman, Estelle Johnson, Imani Dorsey, Nicole Baxter, McCall Zerboni ©, Ali Krieger, Paige Monaghan, Naho Kawasumi, Victoria Pickett
NC: Fuka — 81’
NC: Rylee Baisden — 85’
NJNY: Imani Dorsey — 72’