Preview: NJ/NY Gotham FC (a).
Updated: Aug 20
When? Saturday August 20, 4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET and midnight BST.
Where? Subaru Park, Chester, PA.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on Paramount+ for residents of the United States and on Twitch for international supporters.
Orlando Pride make the trip to Pennsylvania (!?) to take on Gotham FC, who seem to have taken their location identity crisis to a whole new level. Not content with claiming both New York and New Jersey, they're now claiming the whole tri-state area.
Anyway, no such identity crises plague the Orlando Pride. Something which has translated to their on the field play. This team knows exactly what it is, and it's so great to see after a difficult few years.
The same cannot be said of Gotham, however. Whilst no one can blame Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris leaving for family reasons, for footballing reasons it seems like they made the wrong call. I, like many others, had Gotham down as championship dark horses.
That hasn't worked out. I think the Pride pick up 3 points here.
I'm honestly not sure at this point; I don't think they even are. Hue Menzies has taken interim charge of the team, following the firing of Scott Parkinson. They're in a bit of a difficult moment. Which is probably being kind. What is clear, is that they need to stop the rot. They've lost 8 of their last 9 games and seem determined to win the race for the wooden spoon.
In an attacking sense they rank either bottom or second bottom for every major category (figures 1 & 2). Defensively they've been atrocious, conceding at a rate of 2.1 goals per game.
Whilst it's difficult to say exactly how they're going to play, given their terrible form and associated change in leadership, it is pretty clear what they need to do. They need to be harder to beat, they need to be better organised and focus on giving themselves a sturdy foundation from which to build attacks. Without that, they'll finish bottom.
Figure 1 shows Gotham's ranking for big chances created and shots on target per match.
Figure 2 shows Gotham's ranking for big chances missed and goals per match.
Gotham have a number of potential absentees to contend with, not least the potential absences of Krieger and Harris; although I understand they have been training. Caprice Dydasco is listed as an excused absence. Domi Richardson remains on the season ending injury list, whilst Nahomi Kawasumi observes Covid protocols (although the timeline is unclear, there's a chance she plays). Allie Long is on maternity leave. Midge Purce is suspended.
The Pride could hand debuts to Haley Bugeja, Haley Hanson and Ally Watt (see below). Marta and Parker Roberts remain out, though Carrie Lawrence and Abi Kim have cleared concussion protocols.
Edit: 8/20 Darian Jenkins and Anna Moorhouse have been added to the injury report. Both are out.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
Assuming Krieger and Harris feel OK to start, I think they'll come in. I think Monaghan will replace Purce, and Gotham will line up as below:
There's a chance she doesn't play in this game, given hers and Krieger's adoption of a new baby (congratulations to them). Gotham will be hoping she declares herself available, although Michelle Betos is a more than capable back-up option.
Harris has chalked up 31 saves, and must be feeling she has jumped from the frying pan and into the fire. When she left Orlando, she was constantly being peppered with shots. Gotham ranks 3rd for saves with 3.7. As with Orlando in the past, they'd be worse off without her.
Gotham are in absolutely wretched form, having lost 5 on the bounce, and 8 of their last 9. Gotham currently lie on a 4-0-10 record, and sit second bottom of the east.
The Pride, however, are unbeaten in 6 and won their last game at high-flying San Diego. The Pride are currently 8th on a 4-6-5 record and sit 5 points below the line.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.
Top player image courtesy of Gotham FC.
Cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Line-up graphic courtesy of Chosen11.com.