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Ok y'all, I've seen the news with Reign v. Wave lol. Please proceed to discuss as needed...thank you for the no spoilers! I saw the news before I checked here, regardless...

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Nov 6, 2023·edited Nov 6, 2023

2023 Championship: Gotham v. Reign or Wave (no spoilers)

2022 Championship: Thorns v. Current

2021 Championship: Spirit v. Red Stars

It's good for the league and every franchise that it's not always dominated by Thorns or Courage. And, this year, we're guaranteed to have a first-time star-winner.

At the same time, the era of Thorns dominance is over. They should be a perennial playoff contender, but even that's not guaranteed.

With expansion to 14 teams, I'd be interested to see the following:

7 team playoffs

First round bye for Shield winner only

First round is 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5

Reseeding after first round

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founding
Nov 6, 2023·edited Nov 6, 2023

Now that I am rested, warm and dry it is easier to think rationally about the match. My takeaways:

1. Norris surprised the heck out of me with the starting lineup and the first set of subs (timing and personnel). He gave the team every chance to win.

2. Smith is not 100% healthy no matter what she says. Lynn WIlliams had a bad day at the office - both teams' stars didn't show up.

3. Weaver had two chances to be a clutch hero and botched them both.

4. Gotham is suddenly a damned good team, and their coach is doing a fantastic job. Freya Coombe really was a bad as I thought. I hope they win it all. OLR may have "suffered" no title for 11 years but Sky Blue suffered worse, and for much longer. Go underdogs!

5. Both semis were decided on a wonder goal, all four teams played stellar defense. In years past, it seems like one of the semifinalists didn't belong (KCC last year, for example). Not this year - these are legit the four best teams in the league and they played like it on Sunday.

6. I am betting we've seen the last of Bixby. Being benched in the biggest game of the season is not a good omen.

7. The Final will not be a sellout.

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No spoilers here:

32,262 at Snapdragon yesterday. Both teams had 81% passing accuracy.

25,218 at Prov Park yesterday. Gotham had 75% passing accuracy, Thorns had 68%.

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I watched from the comfort of my couch, so maybe understandably less grouchy than some folks who had to sit outside in that mess, but for some reason, that was maybe the most positive Thorns loss i can remember watching: They got chances, they were dynamic and open, and the more fun team to watch. It's also encouraging for the future: watching the new young talent starting to take over and gain confidence was nice- Moultrie and Coffey especially, but also Reyes and Hogan, who all played really well.

And maybe it's sour grapes, but big picture, if they had won another title this year, the new ownership might be even less likely to make changes (how do you justify replacing coach and GM of a team that just won back-to-back titles?) . So hopefully this gives the new owners the impetus to clean house and get the Thorns players the leadership they deserve.

And, not for nothin, it's a lot better for the NWSL to have some new faces in the championship game.

I'm really glad to see the Reign get one last chance at a title with their aging roster- they've been so good for so long but always came up short.

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Last comment for the night, and we’ll leave it on a positive: Sam was *outrageously* good today. Made 3-4 crucial tackles in her own area including one where she tracked all the way back and took the ball straight off Williams, rarely gave the ball away, and covered a ridiculous amount of ground over 120 minutes.

Reyes also did a really nice job on Purce considering she’s a rookie. Happy to have her around for the future....Glad that pick didn’t go to waste.

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Know who the Thorns could have used today? Lindsey Horan.

Think back on every facet of the game where Thorns couldn't break through today, and think about how Lindsey would have helped change that dynamic.

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So never mind the darkness, we still can find a way

'Cause nothin' lasts forever, even cold November rain.

--------Onward--------

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Just sucks that we wasted a year of Sophia Smith, who IMO is the best player in the history of this club, with an undercooked coach, staff, and squad. Portland ultimately paid the price for thinking bringing it back was adequate while teams like Gotham improved over the course of the season.

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Wonder what Lorne Donaldson is doing these days.

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Underrated part of today- Soph and Weaver both looked a step slow compared to their baselines, Morgan in particular. Thought Gotham got away with playing a consistently high line (and easily could’ve been burned by the Moultrie pen that ended up offside).

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Where was Bixby?

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And so begins our long offseason of change and uncertainty...

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Can we all not comment on the second game of the night until tomorrow maybe? I really don’t want spoilers bc I wanna watch!

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I do think Bixby is done here. Hogan didn't do anything spectacular, but she was steady.

Hats off to Mandy Haught, who started the season as Gotham's #3 keeper. Now I have to think maybe Gotham makes Abby Smith available in expansion. Haught has been very good this year.

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All I care about now is SD getting knocked out.

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Can’t be too mad about the second half. Responded really well after a poor first. Weaver missed her chance, Stengel took hers after an uncharacteristic Hina giveaway. Reyes, Becky, and Coffey were excellent.

On balance, probably the right ending for the season. Very disappointing nonetheless.

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Gotham deserved to win. I thought Norris did his best with his roster until the Saurbrunn sub but that may have been necessary for some reason.

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Had everything there for the taking. Walk away with nothing.

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Silver lining, do we get a new coach? Hope fucking so!

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Disappointing. Looked like a bunch of strangers playing together the last 45 minutes.

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Season’s over.

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How was Kriegers tackle of Smith in first overtime not a red card?

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This wasn't the way I was hoping we would break our streak of win one, lose one

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Credit where it’s due; Gotham was the better team. Good luck in San Diego; if anyone takes the star I’d really rather see them than the damn Wave.

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Down a goal, those subs really don't inspire any confidence.

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Sinc on at 115’? Seriously?

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At least we won’t have Mike Norris to kick around anymore.

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Hubly for Saurbrunn, goal. She totally ducked out of that challenge.

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Whelp. Not great.

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And there it is. Golazo by Stengel.

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Hubs for Brunn? Ugh.

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Hubly and Vasconcelos have been warming up.

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Kuikka is in beast mode thank god

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First OT; no score. Fifteen minutes to PKs.

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Frankly we’ve been lucky so far.

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founding

Is it bad that I don’t want to see Sinclair in this game with this pace. Dunn is creating most of our high danger chances

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founding

Crystal Dunn and Sam Coffey have willed us into this game. We really need to go after Nighswonger. We’ve been more effective going down the right side of the pitch

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Overtime…

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Christ Weaver. Just hit the damn ball

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I won’t kid you; if I was a neutral I’d have been channel-surfing to find an episode of “Naked and Afraid”‘I hadn’t seen yet.

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At this point, either;

1) Gotham nicks a late goal, or

2) We go to PKs

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Gosh fully fit Soph beats the keeper to that ball

:(

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Hogan hasn't made an adventure out of any of her catches. No batting into the air or fumbling to the ground. She's been solid.

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Early move to a 4-3-3 and Liv immediately loses a runner lol

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Disjointed generally, but I think they can pull together and make this happen.

Nighswonger the steal of the 2023 draft. Gotham was SO lucky she fell to them.

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Gotta bring in Hina or at least shift liv into midfield.

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If the Thorns don't go direct they don't go at all. The midfield is struggling to grab the game so far.

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This is, simply put, what a well coached team against a poorly coached team looks like. Thorns could easily snag one against Gotham’s high line, but there’s no style, no ideas, and no shape.

A 4-4-2 against a possession team makes no sense. Esther is dropping into midfield and overloading constantly. Moultrie as a right striker(?!) is just dumb as hell

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