2023 has been a good year for NJ/NY Gotham FC. The team currently sits in third place and is not far from first. The tri-state area team has 30 points, which is two behind the NWSL leaders, Portland Thorns FC.
So, can Gotham FC finish the regular season in first place? Can they claim a first-round bye and go straight to the semifinals? It is possible.
Gotham FC could claim first place in the NWSL
What does Gotham need to do? It is simple. For starters, they have to win all three of the remaining games. Gotham will play against the Houston Dash, the Portland Thorns, and Kansas City Current. The matches against Houston and Kansas City are at home, while Portland is an away fixture.
Houston and Kansas City sit in tenth and eleventh place, respectively. On paper, these are two games Gotham FC should earn all three points. However, the visit to Portland will be a tremendous challenge. There is a reason the league leaders have 32 points and sit in first place at this time. The talent on the team is immense, and the passionate home crowd makes life difficult for visiting teams.
Still, Gotham did beat Portland at home earlier in the season. The ladies know they can beat them. As such, a win against the Thorns and the other two sides would put the NJ/NY team ahead of the 2022 champions.
At the same time, San Diego Wave FC is in second place. They will also play Portland. If both the Wave and Gotham finish the season by winning the last three matches, then they will be level on points. The standings would come down to goal differential, and the West Coast team is ahead. That is why the Bats must score as many goals as possible.
In the end, NJ/NY Gotham FC has to win the rest of their games if they want to claim first place in the NWSL. This is a possible task, but San Diego has to score fewer goals or lose at least one of their remaining games. Only time will tell whether this will occur.