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Listen to the most recent episode of our podcast: EP 90! NJ/NY 1-0 POR NWSL FINALS BOUND!!! https://anchor.fm/soccerovergotham/episodes/EP-90--NJNY-1-0-POR-NWSL-FINALS-BOUND-e2bmcck
The National Women's Soccer league's 2023 Championship game is one for the ages. Two legends of the sport Ali Krieger and Megan Rapinoe face off in their last game while their respective teams chase their first championship. You cannot script a more exciting matchup.
Last time these two teams faced off Gotham dominated. A 4-1 dominant victory where Gotham pressed OL into their corner flags and OL as the team that crosses in the most got only 1 cross off all match.
This time should be different as OL returns a game changing National team player in Rose Lavelle.
Matchup to watch:
Midfield: On our podcast I had stated that Gotham's young midfield of Ryan, Sheehan, and Martin were going to make or break this championship run. This will be the game that proves it. This young but talented midfield will be going up against one of the most experienced midfields in the league with Sonnett, Fishlock, and Lavelle. Can Gotham's midfield be as aggressive and disciplined as they need to be in this moment?
Why Gotham FC Wins
Strong defense: Gotham FC has one of the best defenses in the NWSL. They started the playoffs with two straight shutouts. They have also been very good at defending set pieces. Keeper Mandy Haught is a star on the rise.
Attacking firepower: Gotham FC has a number of talented attacking players, including Lynn Williams, Esther Gonzalez, and Midge Purce. Williams is one of the most dangerous strikers in the NWSL. But the team is getting goal contributions from across the roster. Their best chance creator has been rookie of the year finalist Jenna Nighswonger.
Motivation: Gotham FC is playing in their first NWSL Championship Final. They are playing for their captain Ali Krieger in her last game and last shot at NWSL gold. They are playing to change the history of the club that hasn't been glorious (being way too kind). They are playing to announce to the world that Gotham FC is here, now. And also a shot across the bow that they are here to stay at the top.
How Gotham FC Can Win
Pressing OL into their corner flags: Gotham FC needs to keep the ball away from the OL Reign wide players. The Reign have a number of dangerous attacking players, including Megan Rapinoe and Jess Fishlock. If Gotham FC can control the field tilt, they will limit the Reign's chances to score.
Scoring first: Getting the first goal would put the pressure on the OL Reign. The last thing you want to see if you are OL is Gotham with a lead. Gotham will absolutely punish teams if they are forced to open up.
Be clinical in front of goal: Gotham FC needs to be clinical in front of goal. They can't afford to waste any chances. Williams, Purce, and Gonzalez all need to be at their best in front of goal.
Gotham needs one more hero: The first game it was was Lynn Williams. The second game it was Katie Stengel off the bench. Who will ultimately be the hero this city deserves?!