Gotham wins for the 1st time since July of 2022 in their season opener against budding rival Angel City. Here are three takeaways.
What was that?
In pre game pressers new coach Amoros said he wanted this team to have a recognizable style of play and identity. I'm not sure we got either of those. Was it a 5-3-2, 3-5-2, 4-4-2, etc. I think the answer is yes. Gotham was all over the pitch. Shifting and freely flowing. One minute Mewis is the left back. Next a number 10. Purce was a center forward, central midfielder and also a right back at times.
A very interesting pass map. Players were receiving the ball pretty high up the pitch including left back Nighswonger. There's a clear passing progression. This map is skewed by early substitutions and the general free flow of movement. Time will tell if it's by design.
Gotham loaded up on talent in the off season and the roster is deep outside of center back. Which means, coach Amoros is going to make tough decisions every week to get down to 18. This week, Mandy Haught and Taylor Smith were absent from the squad despite not being in the injury list. Going to have to get used to this.
Center back depth:
An area of concern. Gotham enters the season with 3 center backs on roster. 2 over the age of 35. It's a long season with a challenge cup tournament running through it. The other center back Mandy Freeman has had some injury concerns of her own in the recent past.
There was a noticable uneasiness surrounding the squad when captain Krieger went down early. Long dropped back as a third center back at times and the team shifted into a 4 back line.
We hear Nealy Martin can play center back. It may be hard for her to make the 18. We also heard post game that Nighswonger was being utilized as a center back in preseason. To which taking one of the top offensive products in the nation and converting them to center back seems strange when there were natural high value center backs available.
If Amoros is going with 3 center backs regularly this seems like poor roster planning. Gotham dropped their 4th center back Livingstone before season started. Time will tell if it was just a tactic against Angel City or not.
New podcast out this week. https://anchor.fm/soccerovergotham