Gotham FC: 5 storylines to follow in 2024

  • Despite lofty expectations, plenty of questions remain heading into the season for Gotham FC

Gotham FC
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4. How does playing time get distributed throughout the season?

With the acquisition of USWNT players Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle, and Emily Sonnett in free agency as well as solid NWSL players in Sam Hiatt, Miller, and Ella Stevens, and first-round draft pick Maycee Bell on top of an already championship-winning roster, questions have been raised about how playing time will be dolled out to this stacked roster.

Head coach Amorós is infamous around the league for constantly tinkering with his starting lineup. Throughout last season, Gotham did not start the same XI in consecutive games until the playoffs when the head coach started the same eleven players in all three playoff games on their way to the championship. Fans should expect something similar to occur throughout 2024 as well.

Another aspect to keep in mind is the tactical and positional flexibility that the players and the roster as a whole have. Need to play three at the back? They have the personnel for that. How about a two-striker system? They can do that too.

And then there are the players themselves. Maitane López played brilliantly as a center-back last season, but normally she plays as a defensive midfielder. Both Kelley O'Hara and Bruninha can play both fullback positions. Lynn Williams and Midge Purce are mainly wingers but both can play as a central striker or a wingback.

Of course, Gotham signed the ultimate utility player in Dunn who can play just about anywhere on the field and do so brilliantly. So while finding enough playing time for everyone on the roster might be a challenge, they have the coach and the players available to give it their best try at making it work.

3. Who plays their way into a starting spot for Gotham?

Piggybacking slightly off of storyline number four, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, plays their way into the starting lineup. Last season saw players like Nealy Martin, Delanie Sheehan, López, and Jenna Nighswonger go from assumed squad/rotation players at the beginning of the season to key starters in the stretch run of the season and then the playoffs.

So who are those potential breakout candidates this year? One such candidate could be rookie defender Maycee Bell. Bell was someone who fell in this year's draft after tearing her ACL at the beginning of the 2022 season and then did not have the senior season many expected her to have in 2023. She oozes natural talent and, even with a stacked group of center-backs on the roster, has the chance to break into the Starting XI given Amorós' willingness to tinker. It's all down to whether or not she can take that opportunity and force the head coach to keep her in the starting lineup.

Another player could be Stevens. Stevens, a free agent signing from the Chicago Red Stars, is coming off of a season where she scored four goals on a pretty bad Chicago team. With more talent around her, she could have the potential to really flourish as a forward when given the chance to play and start.

While she does face even more of an uphill climb than Bell does given Gotham's forward pool is arguably even deeper than their center-back pool is, she has the talent and ability to potentially force Amorós to change things ever so slightly to accommodate her and get her into the starting lineup.