|photo by Dennis Schneidler - USA TODAY SPORTS
by Anthony J. Merced
Gotham FC have their sights set on taking over the top of the NWSL should they beat the Houston Dash on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena. Dominant forward Esther Gonzalez made her presence felt in her first start, scoring two goals that helped carry the team to victory over the Washington Spirit. The win gave Gotham breathing room and a chance to challenge for the top of the table, just two points behind the Portland Thorns.
Gotham's win over Washington broke a three-game winless streak in all competitions and helped to solidify confidence in the backline that had surrendered three goals against North Carolina a week prior. The inclusion of Gonzalez has also boosted the team's confidence as a starting attack of the World Cup winner, Lynn Williams and Midge Purce could prove to be what the club needs to carry them into a deep playoff run.
Houston is a team that is looking to keep their playoff hopes alive with the bottom of the table also not too far way either. A win for the Dash could see them hop into the sixth and final playoff spot. A lot rides on their performance at Red Bull Arena as well. Their last game was a 1-0 win over Louisville which kept their hopes alive heading into the final fixtures of the season.
Gotham's high hopes could be galvanized should they win and Washington lose, guaranteeing them a playoff spot in October. The standings are tight and expectations are high with the game expecting to be a heated engagement as both teams near the 2023 regular season finish line.