Before the final game of the regular season, there were concerns about NJ/NY Gotham FC. They were amid a rough patch and barely made the NWSL Playoffs.
Alas, the end-of-the-season struggles did not matter. Gotham FC is going to their first NWSL Playoffs Championship after they beat Portland Thorns FC in the semifinals. Katie Stengel scored the winning goal in stoppage time. As such, the substitute is the reason why the Bats will play in the finals.
Katie Stengel's goal was incredible
Stengel's goal needs to be talked about. Not only was it the game-winning goal, but it was glorious. It needs to be seen by everyone.
To start, Stengel took the shot from outside of the box. It was not a simple tap-in. It was not an easy shot near the goal. She saw an opportunity with all the Portland players nearby and took her shot.
Then, there was the shot itself. Stengel's goal has a slight curl to it. It was not a straight-power shot. Instead, the ball was directed into the top left corner of the goal. The movement of the shot made it difficult to defend. Hence, Stengel's ability to sweep the ball upward put Gotham in the perfect position in extra time.
Additionally, fans cannot forget about Kristie Mewis. The midfielder, who has missed time due to injury, knew exactly where Stengel was. Without the assist, the 107th-minute goal would have never occurred.
The goal was brilliant and beautiful. In complete honesty, that was the type of goal that was needed to grab the win. It described the dramatics of the game as a whole. Plus, it came from an unlikely hero. Many would have thought someone like Esther González or Lynn Williams would have scored for Gotham. Instead, it was Stengel.
Regardless of what happens next weekend, Stengel's goal will mark an important moment in NJ/NY Gotham FC's history. She is the reason why the team is heading to the finals.