Game preview VS OL Reign
Soccer Over Gotham
May 19, 2023
Gotham heads west and seeks revenge.
Last time these teams faced at Red Bull Arena, OL bested Gotham 2-0 on a rain-delayed night. This time Gotham travels to Washington to take on the OL Reign at Lumen Field at 6 p.m. ET Sunday.
Gotham FC and OL Reign come into this match with Identical records (4-1-2, 13 points). OL currently sits in 2nd and Gotham 3rd on the table because of goal differential.OL is coming off of a 1-0 defeat against the Courage away and Gotham is coming in off a physical 0-0 draw at home to Orlando.
Gotham’s keeper Abby Smith has been a revelation and proving to be one of the best offseason acquisitions in the league. 6 starts, 3 clean sheets, 3 saves of the week and last week earned her NWSL player of the week.
Despite a frustrating draw against Orlando, Gotham gained a point and moved up the standings from fourth to third.
OL is one of the most consistently top table teams in the league. Having made few changes to the roster that saw them win the NWSL shield in 2022. Thanks, in part to Gotham drawing Portland in the final match. Gotham’s draw not only allowed for OL to take the shield at the last moment but awarded each player 5k. Perhaps, Gotham’s roster should be treated to dinner by the OL players as a gesture of appreciation. OL possess a straight forward attacking philosophy. Get the ball down the wings and have players like Rapinoe and Huerta launch early balls in to streaking forwards such as Bethany Balcer and Jordyn Huitema.
The Reigns’s 2023 campaign has picked up where they left off. Making their way to the top of the table early. Only being passed by the undefeated Washington spirit last week for first.
This will be the 22nd meeting between these two clubs overall, with Ol holding the edge all time 10-6-5. Last season Gotham lost both matches. 4-1 away and 1-0 at home.
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• The game will be streamed live on Paramount+, and international viewers may watch for free on NWSLSoccer.com.
Here are three items to watch for:
Can Gotham beat a top team?
So far this season, Gotham has only played mid to bottom table teams with the exception of a 2-0 loss to this week's opponent. Gotham has had the easiest strength of schedule of any team in the league. That changes quickly as they embark on two tough road matches against the current top two teams in the standings. OL and the Spirit. Then follow that up with the current 5th place San Diego Wave at home.
Despite this "easy" strength of schedule, Gotham is 10th in goals scored per match (1.0). Relying heavily on goals from Lynn Williams (6g in 9 matches)
Lynn has been incredible this season. Regaining near top form. Returning from missing all last season for a hamstring injury. Williams is making her case as a near lock for the national team given her form.
The theme this season for the top three teams is stellar defense. The three lowest goals against per game are Washington, Gotham and OL. You can't lose if your opponents can't score. Gotham has only given up more than one goal twice this campaign.
Gotham's defensive resurgence can be chalked up to their high pressure attack. Defending from the front. Also, the additions of O'hara and Edmonds and the return of the "spider in the midfield" Allie Long.
You also can't overlook the performance of keepers Abby Smith and Mandy Haught. They have been stellar in making key saves when called upon. Gotham is tied with OL in the league lead in clean sheets (3).
Gotham's defense will be called upon to shut down the highest crossing team in the league. The good news is that Gotham has already accomplished this feet in the first match. Allowing for 0 crosses. Can they do it again?
Gotham has been the best road team this season. (3-1-1). Gotham tries to impose their aggressive playing style where they are home or away. Most teams play out at home and sit in away. This plays into Gotham's favor as teams that play out can leave themselves exposed to turnovers.
Listen to our latest with former Gotham center back Gina Lewandowski.
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: EP 71 NJ/NY 0-0 ORL Gina Lewandowski #oncegotham https://anchor.fm/soccerovergotham/episodes/EP-71-NJNY-0-0-ORL-Gina-Lewandowski-oncegotham-e24aala