Gotham falls 2-0 in their first competetive matchup of the season in a preseason matchup against the Orlando Pride. Here are some notes and storylines from this match.
- The return of Ali Long
Long missed the entirety of the 2022 on maternity leave. Allie was having possibly her best statistical season and played every match but one due to yellow card accumulation. It was a statistically stunning season. Long was the fulcrum of the team. On defense, she was a helping make Gotham one of the toughest defenses to break down and was often used to mark the target on set pieces. 7 blocked shots, 26 clearances, 19 headed clearances and 17 interceptions. Offensively, Ali started every attack and set the tempo. Completing 91 percent of her passes. Vlatko Andonovski called leaving Long of the USWNT Olympic qualifying roster "An extremely difficult decision". If Long can regain form she may be once again the most important player on the roster to it's success.
- The return of Sinead Farrelly
Farrelly announced her retirement from the league on December 2nd, 2016. After being derailed from the Paul Riley abuse scandal and spending 2016 on injury reserve due to injuries from a car crash. Her return shows that through it all, she never lost the spark or competitive spirit. It also signifies a turning of the corner for a league trying to right past wrongs.
- The return of Mandy Haught
All three keepers saw minutes but Mandy starting is an interesting developement. Mandy was a highly sought after prospect after starting all 4 seasons at Virginia Tech and playing with the U-18s and U-20's. Mandy returns after a successful stint in Sweden in 2021. Coach Amoros seems to be favoring open competition at all positions. It's possible Haught starts the season in net.
- Edmonds and Krieger
Ali and Kristin have history having played together at the Pride. At the time Edmonds was mostly used as a midfielder. Both are similar in style. High soccer IQs with high competitive drives. Both posses exceptional passing range. A good fit for the progressive passing system employed by Coach Amoros. Both being on the shorter side for center backs Gotham may have to rely on Ali Long for defending set pieces against taller attackers.
- Front line during the World Cup
Foreshadowing what a Gotham attack could look like come summer when possibly Mewis, Purce, Onumonu and Williams could all be away at the world cup. They will have new addition Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir to bridge the gap. Looks like it was a front three of Ryan, Sheehan and Farrelly. Smith was used as a right back from the start here but suspect that when O'hara returns Gotham could be looking at a front line of Ryan, Guðmundsdóttir, and Smith. Should be strong enough to be competitive.
- Nighswonger may be in for a big year
Rookie Jenna Nighswonger has the ability to play in the 10 when Mewis is away and can possibly be the starting left winger when Mewis is here. Last season's Houston team relied on left footer Maria Sanchez to play dangerous crosses from wide areas. Which is not the forte of any of Gotham's forwards. The only other player with that skill set is Kawasumi. It's possible Jenna has a shot at that spot through a strong preseason. If Nighswonger can grab it she could be in for a lot of minutes and a shot at rookie of the year honors.