Delanie Sheehan and Yazmeen Ryan both scored to give visiting Gotham a 2-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage on Sunday night in the opening round of the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs.
Gotham will head to Portland, Oregon, to take on the Thorns in a semifinal match on Nov. 5.
Sheehan’s goal late in the first half was also her first professional goal, as well as Gotham’s first postseason goal.
Gotham moved the ball around from the left to the right, and Bruninha found Sheehan at the edge of the box. With the defense set up to defend a cross, the midfielder snuck a ball through North Carolina’s defense and into the far corner.
Tyler Lussi’s header went just wide on the other side a minute later. It was North Carolina’s first shot of the match at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
As North Carolina pushed for an equalizer late in the second half, Gotham got its second goal in transition in the 91st minute. Lynn Williams won a long ball over the top from rookie Jenna Nighswonger and found Ryan to her right, who slotted her shot into the left corner in stoppage time.
Gotham’s press and defensive pressure limited North Carolina to just six shots all match. The Courage were also without leading goal-scorer Kerolin, who tore her ACL in the final regular-season match.
“We defend as 11. We attack as 11. It’s a huge team win and I’m really proud of everyone,” Gotham forward Midge Purce said after the match.
The win extended the career of Gotham’s Ali Krieger for at least one more game. She’ll join fellow U.S. women’s national team veteran Megan Rapinoe in retiring when their seasons conclude.
Rapinoe plays for OL Reign, which defeated Angel City 1-0 on Friday to open the playoffs and will visit the San Diego Wave in the other semifinal.
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