Although unofficially, Gotham FC (12th 4-0-12 12pts) are out of the running for the last playoff spot following the loss to The Freya Coombe led Angel City (7th 7-4-5 25pt). Here are three quick takeaways.
75 minutes of really good soccer by Gotham FC. Interim coach Hue Menzies is working his magic. Angel City was on their heels for almost the entirety of this match. Gotham ended up with 62% possession and the game flow map shows that it was all one way traffic for most of the match. Gotham led the expected goal stat for the first time in a long time.
Gotham, for the first time this season was positioned mostly in Angel City's half. Gotham moved the ball effortlessly and attacked with flair. 22 Shots and 12 corners. Both season highs.
A big part of this was the electric pace Smith brought to the right back position. As seen above, Taylor was the focal point for the attack. Taylor was consistently driving up the flank and causing havoc. She played the line breaking pass that led to the phantom goal. Every game Hue seemingly is playing a player out of position, but it's working out. Like Krieger in the defensive midfield spot. Both game changing moves.
It was noted in a mid season post game conference by former coach Parkinson and current captain McCall Zerboni that Gotham lets one thing go wrong and it destroys them. One thing did go wrong. Horribly, and unfathomably wrong. A goal that was a goal. But wasn't a goal. It was a corner kick. Gotham is rightfully aggrieved by this. But what ensues is a team who were completely dominating the match to giving up 3 goals in 15 minutes. The mentality of this team has been criminal all season. The difference in this match and in every match Hue has taken over is lessening of the time it takes for Gotham regaining their composure. Sure the Damage was done at that point, but Gotham came back after half and went straight back to free flowing, unafraid attacking soccer. Although it is too late, Gotham should be inching towards a full 90 minute performance sooner than later.
Midfield problems solved?
What makes Victoria such a great fit for Gotham is her ability to get the ball out of her feet fast and forward. Almost every one of her first touches are towards goal and by a defender, forcing that player to take her down. Angel city committed a third of their fouls against Pickett even though she came on as a second half substitute. A toolset that is lacking from this team and she adds another dimension to the attack. A Krieger, Zerboni, Mewis, Pickett midfield on paper is about as good as it gets. And it showed against Angel City. Those 4 dominated the middle of the pitch. Forcing Angel City down the wings. You can see the dent that Zerboni and Krieger put in the Angel City Attack below.
Add in rising star Torres, the undervalued Cudjoe and the eventual return of Ali Long. This Midfield is 2 deep at all positions.
This week's podcast will feature guest host Noela Franco (Net's Republic) and an interview with Gotham FC Newcomer, Victoria Pickett. Due out Thursday.