all scores

Gotham FC extend Ali Krieger’s career with first NWSL playoff win

Gotham FC defender Ali Krieger celebrates with her coach after a 2-0 win against North Carolina Courage in the 2023 NWSL playoffs. (Jaylynn Nash/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC secured their first NWSL playoff win Sunday night and in the process extended the career of captain Ali Krieger.

With the 2-0 win over the North Carolina Courage, Krieger’s retirement tour will continue into the semifinal round on Nov. 5. The former U.S. women’s national team defender announced ahead of the 2023 season that it would be her last. The team hopes to send her out with her first NWSL championship, and getting a first playoff win was a good start.

“We knew this was another step in making history for this football club,” head coach Juan Carlos Amorós said.

The fact that Sunday was not Krieger’s last game got one of the biggest team cheers of the night.

Delanie Sheehan scored her first professional goal to put Gotham FC up 1-0. Teammate Yazmeen Ryan said after the match that Sheehan “deserves it more than anybody.”

Defensively, the team held it down and didn’t allow a single goal against a Courage team that was without star player Kerolin.

“I think our defensive effort was outstanding as a team,” Ryan said. “Everybody was tracking back. Everybody was getting back and doing their roles and that’s so crucial in the way that we play and it’s what led to the second goal for sure. And so I think overall our defensive effort and our willingness to get back and then get forward in transition was outstanding.”

Of course, some of that extends back to Krieger, who midfielder Maitane Lopez called the “mom of the team.”

“It’s amazing to be next to her on the pitch. She always helps me,” Lopez said, “and is the mom of the team, helping us and pushing us to be better. She deserves more than anyone to advance to the next round and hopefully the trophy.”