NJ/NY Gotham FC opens the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by Secret with a visit to Exploria Stadium as the newly rebranded club takes on Orlando Pride on Wednesday, April 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
The match will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network with international viewers able to follow the action on Twitch. This match will mark the first time the club takes the pitch as Gotham FC, competing previously as Sky Blue FC.
While the club name and logo may be new, the heart of the team remains the same. The 2021 roster is bolstered by the return of several key veteran players including team captain and midfielder McCall Zerboni, defender Gina Lewandowski, and midfielder Naho Kawasumi. Two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Carli Lloyd and U.S. Women’s National Team player Midge Purce along with forward Evelyne Viens (CAN) and defender Estelle Johnson (CMR) will be unavailable for the start of the Challenge Cup due to international duty. The noted absence on the front line provides continued opportunity for forwards Paige Monaghan and Ifeoma Onumonu to shine.
The offseason saw the signing of South Korean National Team player Sodam Lee who will look to make her NWSL debut after winning consecutive WK titles with Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels.
Golden Glove winner of the 2020 Challenge Cup, Kailen Sheridan remains out due to a right quad injury sustained during an appearance for Canada at the SheBelieves Cup in February.
“Overall it feels a little different going into the Challenge Cup with a much longer preseason this year,” stated Gina Lewandowski. “We’ve had a lot more time together on and off the field as a team, as a unit, and analyzing our vision for the future. The rebrand has brought a different perspective to the club as a whole. We want to get onto the field and show who we are and compete at the highest level.”
The last meeting the two clubs took place way back on Sept. 30, 2019 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. in front of one of the club’s largest attended games of 8,314 fans. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with Carli Lloyd and Shelina Zadorsky getting on the score line.
The former ‘Sky Blue FC’ and Orlando Pride did not meet during 2020, due to the Pride’s absence from the Challenge Cup and having not been drawn to match-up during the NWSL Fall Series.
Upcoming Home Matches
Gotham FC will have two Challenge Cup home games on Tuesday, April 20 against North Carolina Courage and on Sunday, May 2 against Racing Louisville FC. Both games will be played MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field on the campus of Montclair State University.
Due to social distancing requirements, tickets will be extremely limited and are expected to sell-out. Public on-sale begins Thursday, April 15 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Presale for Season Ticket Members is live now, and all members will have received an email from their account rep with instructions on how to access tickets.
Sensory sacks for individuals with autism and other special needs will be available complimentary for use at the match, upon request at the front gate.
About NJ/NY Gotham FC
Originally named Sky Blue FC, the Club underwent a major rebrand in April 2021 and officially changed its name to NJ/NY Gotham FC. Representing New Jersey and New York, the Club plays its National Women’s Soccer League home matches at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Club has been part of the NWSL since the league launched in 2013. Founded in 2007, Gotham FC originally debuted as Jersey Sky Blue in the W-League of United Soccer Leagues. The Club won its first trophy as Sky Blue FC in 2009 after winning the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer championship. Most recently, the Club won its first NWSL playoff match during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
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