Preview: NJ/NY Gotham FC (a).
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
When? August 29, 2.30 p.m. PT, 5.30 p.m. ET and 10.30 p.m. BST.
Where? Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ.
How can I catch the action? Paramount+ for residents of the United States, and Twitch (twitch.tv and via the app), for international fans.
Having had a week to reflect on their defeat in Washington, you have to believe the Orlando Pride will be motivated to get back to winning ways against a very good Gotham team. Change is afoot for our hosts, as outgoing head coach Freya Coombe prepares to make the move out west to Angel City. This will be an emotional occasion for the home team, and the Pride will have to find a way to manage that. Gotham are going to be as motivated as ever, amidst what promises to be an emotionally charged atmosphere. Orlando will have to find a way to temper that atmosphere.
The Pride have been playing some good football in recent weeks, so this one promises to be a cracking affair. Both sides are neck and neck in the standings, with Gotham's superior head-to-head record the only thing separating the two teams. A win for either side would be a huge shot in the arm, and one that could elevate them as high as 3rd place.
This promises to be another fascinating encounter, and I for one cannot wait...
Gotham are actually one of the best possession teams in the entire league, so the transition game is going to be crucial for Orlando. They've played 7,382 passes, which is comfortably more than anyone else in the NWSL. This averages out at around 492.1 passes per game. They also have an overall pass completion rate of 80.9%. They are very good at keeping possession. And they don't just keep possession for possession's sake; 38.1% of their passes go forward, compared to only 15.9% that go backwards. They like to play on the front foot. Overall, they're a good team to watch.
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They're also a team that likes to get the ball wide, and put balls into the area for the likes of Carli Lloyd and Ifeoma Onumonu to profit from. So far this season they have played a total of 213 crosses, with 49 of them connecting. Last time out, against Portland, they sent 29 crosses into the area. In fact, Carli Lloyd's goal against Portland came from a Caprice Dydasco cross. This is a multi-faceted Gotham offence, and one that will provide a stern test for the Pride's defensive resolve.
Figure 1 shows Gotham's average pass direction matrix.
Figure 2 shows Gotham's attacking statistics from the defeat to the Thorns.
Gotham have a few injury concerns heading into this game. Mandy Freeman and Paige Monaghan are set to miss out, as is Midge Purce. Allie Long is currently 1 caution away from a suspension.
Orlando, meanwhile, strangely still don't have any injuries listed on the NWSL report. That being said, we know Jade Moore is out. There's still no timeline for Alex Morgan's return, and Courtney Petersen, Crystal Thomas are doubts as is Amy Turner. New signing, Parker Roberts, could feature. Viviana Villacorta remains on the season ending injury list.
Possible starting XI
I don't think we'll see too many changes at all. I can see Kahomi Nawasumi possibly coming back in, but I think they'll keep largely the same team in their favoured 3-4-3 formation:
The USWNT legend has recently announced her retirement from the sport. Whilst it's fair to say she is a polarising personality, her on-field abilities cannot be called into question. Lloyd has totalled 540 minutes across 6 starts for Gotham this season, tallying 1 goal and 1 assist. With 128 goals in 312 matches for the national team, she'll go down as one of the US' greatest ever players.
Gotham currently sit 5th in the standings, with a 5-6-4 record. Despite their apparent quality, this team is winless in their last 5, and have lost back-to-back games.
Orlando, on the other hand, prior to their defeat in Washington, were enjoying something of a renaissance under Becky Burleigh. The Pride sit 6th with a 5-6-5 record.
*All statistics courtesy of nwslsoccer.com
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