Updated: Dec 1, 2022
What happened to Gotham FC?
Before Gotham FC was taken over by Scott Parkinson, they were known as being a team that was hard to break down. This veteran heavy roster would out possess and outthink opponents. Gotham would draw teams forward, pull them out of shape, and then hit them with great service from an advanced Caprice Dydasco. Overall, Gotham would make very few mistakes and were very hard to defeat. None of that is the case this season.
2021 vs 2022:
1st in accurate passes per game (377.7). Currently 9th (272).
1st in average possession (54.9%). Currently 10th (48.3%)
Last in league in clearances per match (17). Currently 1st (22.3)
2nd in goals conceded (0.9). Currently 11th (1.8)
Dydasco who was the league's top rated (7.77) player and defender of the year (4 assists, 1 goal). Currently a full FOTMOB point lower (6.82) and has 0 assists or goals.
2021 top scorers Purce (9) and Onumonu (8). Currently Purce (2) Onumonu (1)
Gotham is now being constructed as a vertical passing and sometimes pressing team. On the field, there is a struggle between the last year's Gotham and this year's Gotham. You can see this plainly in yesterdays match. After starting the game in a vertical passing, sometimes pressing style, Gotham was overrun by a team doing exactly what everyone knew they were going to do. Following the 3rd goal the players defaulted to their tried and true possession style. And for the following 34 minutes Gotham looked the better of the two teams. They were still giving away chances but they weren't being overrun as they were earlier. Gotham played some of the better soccer they have played all season.
This is the struggle we've seen all season. A team caught in two minds of doing what comes instinctually and what the new coach wants. Something here has to give.
Dydasco goes rogue
No player has been effected more by the new coaches system than Dydasco. A case can be made for Onumonu as well. Dydasco is a forward thinking outside back. She's creative in the midfield and is a great crosser of the ball. Caprice is not the best 1v1 defender. Without a ball playing number 10 last season, creativity in the final third was often left to Caprice to get up the field and provide dangerous balls across. This is the best use of her skill set. Parkinson's system does not favor outside backs getting forward. They mainly serve as pinned back to prevent crosses from coming in. As the game wore on, Caprice started abandoning her post. Getting forward and taking on players. This is why I believe she was pulled. Pulled in favor of Bike who sat back for the rest of the game. Again, here is another example of a team caught in two minds. Players doing what comes naturally or what the coach wants even though it isn't working.
Where does Gotham go from here?
It's either the players or the coach that needs to change. Gotham is past the point where if you were building a case for a coaching change, there really isn't anything you can add to it. Nothing that happened during the match against Portland strengthened or weakened that case.
If Scott is to remain the coach of this team he needs to blow up this roster. Shake things up. Start Jean at outside back instead of Dydasco. Start Cudjoe and Torres instead of Zerboni. Sit Onumonu in favor of Taylor. Start Betos instead of Harris. For no other reason then to shake things up. Nothing against the players but what is being put out there is not working. A coach needs to be brave to succeed. Last season is a great example of this. Allowing Carli Lloyd to dictate her minutes even in games where she is not effective is cowardly from a coaching perspective.
It's a coach's duty to put their players in a spot to succeed. This is clearly not being done here. One last stat. Gotham finished +8 in goal differential last season. Gotham is currently -11. Being outscored 12-2 in their last 5. You have to as a coach either coach to the abilities or instincts of the players that you have or find players that fit yours. Both new coaches in Washington and at the Courage stuck with the playing style that the players were used to and they both won trophies. Gotham has regressed. The problem at Gotham is this roster is built to win now. This is a big club in a big market that is supposed to compete for trophies year in and out. You don't bring in Harris, Krieger and Mewis if you aren't serious in winning now. Gotham was close last season to competing for a title. They are close to being the worst team in the league at this point with less hope of making the playoffs each week with a talented veteran roster.
It may be time for Gotham itself to be brave and make a coaching change.