Photo by Shaquan Woody - JSN

Gotham FC Challenge Cup Preview

NJ/NY Gotham FC kicks off the 2024 season this Friday against San Diego Wave FC at Red Bull Arena. Coming off winning the NWSL Championship at the end of last season, Gotham looks to hit the ground running with the first trophy of the season on the line.

The Gotham are  coming off a preseason tournament win. In the Women's Cup Colombia, the Bats beat both Deportivo Cali and Racing Louisville to take home the trophy. In the games, however, there was a bit of rust showing from the NJ/NY team. There were standouts in Colombia, like 2024 draftee Maycee Bell and of course Esther Gonzalez. It also didn't help that seven of their players were with the US Women's National team at the time, but they were still able to play competitively and win. Having a full squad back from playing competitive games, both for club and country, may help Gotham in the game on Friday.

With major players returning to the team from last season and new additions that add to the "super team" Gotham is highly favored going into the new season. The Challenge Cup will help head coach Juan Carlos Amoros to know exactly where his team is going into the regular season. The only problem is which players he decides to start and who comes off the bench later in the game. Not having the seven national team players play in the Women's Cup did not give Amoros the whole picture of what his team looks like at full strength.

Going into the Challenge Cup now becomes a bit of a test as new players have to adapt to a new playing style and new teammates. The fast-paced, high-pressure system that Coach Amoros employs may be new to the incoming players too. With players like Crystal Dunn, with her ability to play multiple positions, coming into the team, Amoros must look to see where a player of her ability fits into his system.

Looking ahead to Friday's opponents, San Diego Wave FC finished the 2023 season in first. Their 11 wins, 4 draws, and 7 losses was enough to finish ahead of West Coast rivals Portland Thorns. On their way to the NWSL championship game they would lose to Seattle Reign 1-0, ending their season earlier than they would have hoped. Now the Wave are looking to show the other teams in the NWSL that their third season in the league could be their opportunity to make a statement. They will have to get past Gotham, however, which will be a challenge in itself.

With the new season on the horizon, the Bats are looking to finish in better standing than they did in the last regular season, having finished sixth. There is no better way to make a statement than by winning the first trophy of the season. The game on Friday kicks off at 8 p.m. and will stream on Prime Video as the inaugural game for this season's games to be streamed on the platform.

About The Author