Gotham FC apologized to fans on Thursday after not holding a celebration for their NWSL Championship win.

Traditionally, championship-winning teams will hold a rally or a parade in their local market in the days following the title game. Gotham FC, instead, is hosting a “trophy tour,” which included a team visit to the Empire State Building and a ceremonial ringing of the NASDAQ opening bell on Thursday.

Media, however, was not informed until around 1 a.m. the day of Thursday’s festivities.

“It’s sad,” Lynn Williams told The Messenger. “I wish we could have celebrated with our fans who have been there all year.”

“We would have loved to celebrate the fans. Fans are a huge part of why we’re here,” Yazmeen Ryan added. “It’s not ideal that it won’t be until next season. But hopefully they stick with us and know that we’re gonna have many more of these to come.”

Gotham’s supporters group, Cloud 9, expressed their disappointment in the delayed celebration, writing on X that they “deserve to celebrate NOW, as a collective fanbase, with the players that brought home that trophy.”

Gotham veteran McCall Zerboni responded to fans on X with an assurance that their complaints are being heard by the players.

In response to the public pressure, Gotham issued an apologetic statement on Thursday night.

“We extend our sincere apology and recognize you deserved the chance to celebrate our champion athletes who brought the trophy home,” the club wrote. “We pledge to use the off-season to organize celebrations that befit a championship club and match the enthusiasm of the best fans in the world.”

It isn’t the first time a team has delayed its championship celebration. The Washington Spirit didn’t hold a rally to celebrate their 2021 championship win until April 2022, despite having the support of the Washington, D.C. mayor to schedule a parade sooner.

“We don’t even know if it’s gonna be the same team,” Williams told The Messenger, with the NWSL’s free-agency signing period set to begin Monday. “So that’s a bit upsetting. But I do think if we’re not going to do it right, then we have time to plan and go forward.”

Gotham FC players are trusting the process — and heading to the NWSL semifinals while doing so.

After Sunday’s 2-0 win against the North Carolina Courage, forward Midge Purce was asked by CBS Sports what the milestone meant to her. Gotham FC never before had won an NWSL playoff game. But Purce kept it simple.

“It means we’re going to the semis. I don’t think it’s anything more than that,” she said. “We love what it means, we love what it is and we’re here to play.”

Gotham FC turned in solid defensive performance from top to bottom. Purce led the team with seven duels won, while defender Ali Krieger and midfielder Maitane Lopez each had 16 possessions won.

Lynn Williams, meanwhile, had an assist, won three tackles, and also contributed an interception and a clearance. That might sound like a lot of defense for a forward – and it is.

“We have a lot of defensive responsibilities, more than I’d like as a forward,” Purce said. “But I’m committed to the process and the process works. We love it. We defend as 11, we attack as 11. It’s a huge team win and I’m really proud of everyone.”

And Purce’s teammates agree.

“I think our defensive effort was outstanding as a team,” said midfielder Yazmeen Ryan, who had the team’s second goal of the night on an assist from Williams. “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.”

Sophia Smith is cheering on the Portland Thorns from Mexico, supporting her club team while away with the USWNT for the Concacaf W Championship.

“So proud of my thornies,” Smith tweeted in celebration of the club’s thrilling 1-1 draw Friday with Angel City.

Portland’s Yazmeen Ryan nodded in a perfectly placed ball from Madison Pogarch to equalize in the final minute of stoppage time to pull level with ACFC for the final whistle.

The Thorns’ late finish canceled out Savanah McCaskill’s early penalty kick, which put Angel City up 1-0 for the majority of the match.

Friday’s draw extends Portland’s unbeaten streak to six games, putting the club one point behind league leaders San Diego in the NWSL standings.