Updated: Aug 24
It seems nobody informed Gotham's (12th, 4-0-11) players that the season is lost. Because they played their hearts out and deserved more than a 2-1 loss against a resurgent Orlando Pride (8th 5-6-5) team.
Crowd announced at 4,107. Not a bad turnout considering the Philadelphia Union was playing an away match and the New York Red Bulls were playing at home at nearly the same time. Also the form of this team is not really exciting to casuals.
Here are three quick takeaways from the match.
Hue Menzies influence
Hue has in a short time gotten this squad to play good soccer again. Hue is also accomplishing something that neither of the past 2 coaches had been able to do. Rotate players and experiment with the line-up in a constructive way. Freya Coombe rolled out the same starting 11 game after game and Scott Parkinson did this for the most part. Hue is willing to reward players for strong performances in practice and give young players meaningful minutes. It was a choice to play Krieger in the 6 with Cudjoe and Torres available for selection. It was also a choice to start an often forgotten player in the midfield, Nicole Baxter. Choices that for the most part, worked out. It's a breath of fresh air having a coach willing to mix things up and give young players chances.
Jenna Bike has something
That something is the trust of her teammates. For an unheralded new comer to enter into veteran squad is tough. But it was obvious early on that her teammates would not shy away from getting her the ball and involve her in the play. Jenna, a converted forward is showing true grit in not shying away from any physical contact. Jenna also showed some impressive ability to put in dangerous crosses and service.
Performance of the season
Captain McCall Zerboni was absolutely on one against Orlando. Possibly the best individual performance of any Gotham player this season outside of Kristie in the season opening game. McCall was everywhere. It's possible having such a solid and reliable player as Krieger in the 6 that freed up McCall to do what she does best. McCall completed 85% of her passes. Not just on short passes but on line breaking passes sending Onumonu and Smith through. McCall provided bite to the midfield. Completing 75% of her tackles with 3 interceptions and 15 recoveries. Nothing was getting by McCall, winning 85% of her ground duels.
New podcast due out on Thursday as always. This one with Guest Noela Franco of Nets Republic, to talk about Hue Menzies, Bruninha and Pickett.