Welcome to the 2023 NWSL Championship Semifinals, which has Gotham FC in the Pacific Northwest to face the Portland Thorns at Providence Park. Gotham’s first-ever playoff victory two weeks ago brought them here, and today they look to post another upset win on the road: Here is your Gotham vs Portland Thorns Game Day Hub.
Game Day Essentials
- NWSL Championship Semifinals: Portland Thorns vs Gotham FC
- Date and Time: Sunday, November 7, 7 pm ET
- Venue: Providence Park
- Forecast: Cold, rainy, a typical Portland afternoon, 55˚F/13˚C
- Watch: CBS Sports Network
- Officiating Crew: Danielle Chesky (referee), Stephen McGonagle and Chris Schurfranz (assistant referees), Alyssa Nichols (fourth official), Adorae Monroy (VAR), Tom Felice (assistant VAR)
Gotham vs Portland Thorns preview
In something of a repeat of the Goth’s match against North Carolina Courage two weeks ago, not much separates sixth-seed Gotham and second-seed Portland.
The Thorns finished the season with 35 points and 10 wins, while Gotham had 31 points and eight wins, and both teams stumbled on the Decision Day: Portland’s away loss to Angel City FC delivered the NWSL Shield to the San Diego Wave, while Gotham’s 1-1 draw at home to the Kansas City Current saw them lose a potential fourth-place finish and home-field advantage.
Both teams will be a little rusty after an international break that paused postseason play last week. But Portland’s first-round bye means that their most recent competitive match was that Decision Day loss to Angel City way back on October 15 three weeks ago.
Gotham vs Thorns H2H
The Thorns dominate the historical head-to-head between these two teams with 11 wins out of 21 games played.
The two sides split their regular season games: The Thorns won 1-0 in Portland on October 7, while the Goths won 2-1 in Harrison on July 9.
The truth is, the historical matchup has little bearing on this game. The 2023 edition of Gotham doesn’t at all resemble the 2022 squad and the 5-0 drubbing they received at the hands of Portland in July of last year.
- Player Availability: Gotham continue to be without goalkeeper Abby Smith, defender Taylor Smith, midfielder Taryn Torres, and midfielder McCall Zerboni. Defender Imani Dorsey is out with an excused absence. Midfielder Kristie Mewis, rookie hotshot Jenna Nighswonger, and defender Kelley O’Hara are questionable.
- Basically, the squad availability remains unchanged from when Gotham defeated the North Carolina Courage on the road two weeks ago.
- Gotham’s attacking trio of Esther Gonzalez, Lynn Williams, and Midge Purce only scored a combined three goals in their last five games. Will they step up their game on the plastic grass in Portland?
- A questionable defense looked rock-solid against a North Carolina who were missing their biggest scoring threat. Can they contain Portland’s ultra-dangerous duo of Sophia Smith and Morgan Weaver?
- Player Availability: Portland are without forward Janine Beckie. The rest of the squad is available.
- Portland’s 42 goals led all teams in the NWSL in 2023 — by comparison, Gotham scored just 25.
- Smith and Weaver are expected to start. The two combined for 18 goals during the regular season.
- Portland also gets goal production from wingers Hina Sugita (6 goals, 3 assists), and Crystal Dunn 95 goals, 2 assists).
- The flip side: Portland’s 32 goals allowed is the highest of any team to make the playoffs — by comparison, Gotham allowed just 24.
- Learn more about Portland in Oppo Research: 5 Things about the Portland Thorns.