How does Gotham FC go about replacing Midge Purce?

  • Midge Purce suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the team's season opener
  • Finding answers as to how to replace her is not straightforward
Midge Purce of Gotham FC
Midge Purce of Gotham FC / Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/GettyImages

When news of Midge Purce's season-ending ACL injury became public, everyone knew NJ/NY Gotham FC had a monumental task on their hands. Purce, the 2023 NWSL Championship Game MVP, is not only one of the best players in NWSL, but she is also one of the more unique players as well.

Purce, along with teammate Lynn Williams, are two of the most relentless pressing forwards in NWSL, in addition to their exceptional abilities as traditional offensive threats. This is a big part of what made coach Juan Carlos Amorós' side so effective in last season's championship run. There really are not any other players in NWSL, let alone Gotham's roster, that can do what these two are capable of.

It is already evident how important these two are to Gotham FC's offensive gameplan as the team has played all of this season so far with at least one of them out injured. Thankfully, Williams is expected to return from injury in this Sunday's home opener against the Kansas City Current, but that is unfortunately where the good news ends.

So who are the candidates to replace Purce in the starting XI? Let's take a look.

Gotham FC players who can fill in for Purce

Yazmeen Ryan

When Purce suffered her injury in Portland, it was Yazmeen Ryan who came on and replaced her. Ryan is a very different type of player compared to Purce. She is not quite the same sort of presser. However, she possesses some of the same offensive skills in terms of being able to take players on and bring the ball up the field.

Ryan lacks the production levels that Purce has, but that burden should be taken off her shoulders by others like Esther González, whom she assisted for the game-winning goal in Portland, and the returning Lynn Williams.

Crystal Dunn

Despite producing similar results, Crystal Dunn is a different type of winger to Purce. The two players' levels of offensive output are pretty similar, but they reach those same levels in different ways. Purce is more of a ball carrier who is willing to take players on, while Dunn makes things happen with her passing ability.

The newer Gotham player also brings a level of defensive support and athleticism similar to Purce, potentially making the transition from one to another potentially much more seamless. In terms of the most like-for-like replacement, Dunn is probably the answer

Katie Stengel

Katie Stengel is more of a wildcard in this scenario, although playing her in this position is something that Gotham has done before, albeit in a very different role.

Stengel is a very different type of player to Purce, Ryan, and Dunn as she's more of a central striker than a winger like the other three. Playing her as a target winger, winning aerial duels, and knocking balls forward for other, faster, wingers potentially could be something Amorós considers. This can be done as a tactical switch when in need of a goal late in a game, or as a way to exploit a weakness in an opposition backline from the start. Either way, this is probably the option the head coach is least likely to deploy.

This is really only just scratching the surface in terms of both personnel and tactical switches when talking about replacing Purce. This piece would probably read like a novel if every option was covered. Saying that goes to show how important a player Purce is to Gotham FC's plans and how replacing her will not be as simple as just swapping her out for someone else. It must be done by committee and probably requires sacrifices and changes from everyone else on the field.