Updated: Nov 1
Producer, editor, host of Soccer Over Gotham podcast.
Listen to the most recent episode of our podcast: EP 89 NJ/NY 2-0 NC Semifinals Bound!!! https://anchor.fm/soccerovergotham/episodes/EP-89-NJNY-2-0-NC-Semifinals-Bound-e2b48kd
Date: November 5, 2023 7PM eastern
Location: Providence Park, Portland
Streamers can get a DirecTV or Fubo free trial. Or you can watch on NWSLsoccer.com in Spanish.
First time semifinalists: uncharted territory for Gotham FC. First playoff win in NWSL franchise history. Gotham FC stated that they are the first 6th seed to win a playoff game.
Closure for Shim and Farrelly: The names of Farrelly and Shim name still hangs in Portland. They spoke to Oregon Live about their return to Portland.
“I never really imagined that I’d have this full circle moment and opportunity to go back as a player, and definitely not as a teammate of Sinead’s again,” Shim told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “I think we are both excited and this feels like a gift we are experiencing, being together again. I love Portland, and I’ve always loved Portland. It’s a fun thing to go in there and play when you’re not the home team, and I look forward to that, because I haven’t done it yet. Overall, I think it’s just going to be an exciting, full-circle moment.”
Ali Krieger's last stand continues: Ali is historic. Her career is filled with nearly every accolade. The one thing that has been elusive is an NWSL championship. Let's face it. Ali has not been on good teams. This is frankly, the first time she's been in this position. Having fun, playing her heart out and having a team around her built to win. She's now 1 game away from playing for her first NWSL championship.
Purce: Both Midge Purce and Lynn Williams are attackers with high defensive responsibilities. She will be tasked with providing cover for right back Bruninha who likes to get forward. Sophia Smith is the focal point of the Thorn's offense but Morgan Weaver is just as disruptive and dangerous on the wing. She will punish Gotham if left alone. Lopez did a great job of covering Bruninha last game out but Weaver is much more of a threat than North Carolina's wingers.
Here is Lopez against the Courage covering for Bruninha getting forward.
Nealy Martin: Martin has been a revelation this season. The young outside back and center back converted to defensive midfield and has been excellent. However, she'll be facing one of the best players US soccer ever produced. Crystal Dunn is hard to control. She's an incredibly high soccer IQ player and just as good as athlete. Keeping track of Dunn will be a team effort but Martin can not switch off for a second. Crystal can score from anywhere and create goals from small openings.
Sophia Smith (Portland): Smith is one of the best players in the NWSL. MVP candidate, Golden Boot winner, etc, etc. She never saw a shot she didn't like. She's leveled up and has become more of a provider this season and is a just a threat wherever she is in the field. The best way to stop Sophia is to limit her service. That will rely on shutting down Weaver and winning the midfield battle.
Morgan Weaver (Portland Thorns FC): Weaver is a talented forward who is good at scoring goals. She is also good at creating chances for her teammates. The more teams focus on Smith the more dangerous she becomes. If you are going to limit the Thorn's offensively. Start here.
"This is not Ali Krieger's last game!". - Coach Amoros
Ref watch. Gotham is the league leader in fouls and cards. Portland playing at home will certainly get ref favor. Gotham has to be disciplined and not take to many tactical fouls early. Certainly not put any hands on attackers in the box. It will be interesting to see how this game is called early.
Portland Thorns have lost 3 of their last 5 and did not meet the moment against Angel City who played them off the pitch. Losing 5-1. Having an extremely long period between that last game they may need some time to get into the game. Hopefully Gotham can take advantage of that early.
This matchup is1-1-1 in their last 3. Separated by 1 goal in each definitive match. Should be a nail biter and not over to that last minute.
This is a big game for both teams, and it should be an exciting match to watch.
Join us on Twitter al week as Gotham fans vote for their goal of the season. @overgothampod
Link to Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly talking about their return to Portland. https://www.oregonlive.com/portland-thorns/2023/10/gotham-fcs-mana-shim-sinead-farrelly-revel-in-their-joy-ahead-of-return-trip-to-face-portland-thorns.html#:~:text=Shim%20and%20Farrelly%20will%20be,game%20and%20becoming%20teammates%20again.