Updated: Dec 1, 2022
In the first time in 5 matches against Racing Louisville a winner was declared. Louisville (2-2-1) walk away 1-0 winners over Gotham FC (1-0-2) on a hot night in Harrison, NJ. This game had all the feeling of another draw between the two sides but the crossbar had other plans. Here are some takeaways.
"Slow start dooms Gotham"
This was Gotham FC's "Home Opener" after last week's game where the match was postponed due to both teams missing multiple players from a covid outbreak. The organization put a lot into this match with promotions and discounted tickets. The team in the early going failed to meet the moment.
The first 20 minutes were all Racing. Gotham was on their heels against a young Louisville squad pressing for turnovers. Gotham did well in winning their duels and not giving up chances, but as soon as Gotham played forward Racing was jumping all over the lanes. At the 20th minute it was nearly 65 percent possession for Racing. Gotham just couldn't hold onto the ball. This has been a theme this season and it's hard to put on your best performances if you are constantly clawing back into games.
More teams are pressing this season and it is frustrating this season's Gotham. North Carolina, Washington and Racing were having their players sprinting to the ball every time Gotham tried to play out of the back on goal kicks. Gotham needs to find ways to get out of the press or it is going to be a long season.
"Never giving up the fight"
Gotham despite the early struggle did very much claw back into this game. After the goal Gotham started picking up momentum. At the end of the match the possession stats were 50/50 showing the teams determination to take the game to Louisville. Gotham got better as the game went on and fought until the end. The shining example of this fight was Dorsey losing her cleat at the midfield circle and tracking back to the end line to block a shot.
All the substitutes came in and put on good performances. Baxter, Richardson, Tucker and Jean put on gritty and up tempo performances.
Hitting the woodwork five times on the night is certainly the main takeaway from this match. Lundt also made a save off a Kawasumi volley. Narrowly pushing the ball over the top that's trajectory was also heading for the woodwork. Chances were created but not finished. Momentum was built throughout this match and hopefully carries over into next week's road match.
"Who is Gotham FC?"
Identity is one of the most important yet often under talked about aspects of a team. Teams that have an identity are the ones with the most success. Having an identity means there is a clear vision of what is expected from the players, coaches, staff and fans. Last season Gotham FC had a clear identity. You knew this was a possession team that invited pressure and methodically pulled teams apart. Gotham was patient in the attack. This years version of Gotham FC is all over the place. Gotham has shown signs of being a pressing team in the early minutes of the challenge cup. They have also shown signs of being a counter pressing team and a bunker and counter team. Players who thrived last season look lost. Dydasco, who was not just the top Fotmob rated defensive player, but the highest rated player in the league has looked pedestrian. I don't know what this team's identity is. If someone was to ask me what style of soccer is Gotham is playing I wouldn't know how to describe it.
Under Freya in 2021, results were not always there. But, you could easily identify the style of play and what the ideas were going forward. This season has been all over the place and chaotic at best. Mewis who was brought in as a ball playing 10 has been used as an 8. Dual 6. A false 9. I know Gotham likes trying to get forwards running at the defense from 30 yards out. That is about it.
Something needs to be figured out and quick. The season is only 22 games long.
I plan to go over this in detail on this weeks podcast. Feel free to reach out to us on twitter @overgothampod or email us at email@example.com with your thoughts and questions.