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Gotham FC rookie: ‘All that matters’ is reaching NWSL Championship

(Jonathan Jones/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC will face a tough test on the road the NWSL Championship in the No. 2 seed Portland Thorns, but Jenna Nighswonger is confident in her team’s abilities.

The rookie spoke with CBS Sports’ “We Need To Talk,” telling the hosts that the sixth-seeded team has its sights set on winning it all.

“Since we’ve come together as a team in January, we’ve had our sights set on winning the championship,” she said. “Just because we’re the No. 6 seed, it doesn’t matter how we get there, but all that matters is that we’re getting to the final.”

Part of ensuring that happens, Nighswonger said, is making sure that the team is “staying true to ourselves.”

“Knowing that, no matter who we’re playing against, we’re good enough to take on any team and having confidence in what we’ve been working on throughout the season,” she said. “Just taking it one game at a time. We’ve been working so hard, we’re so confident in the team that we have, in the coaching staff the tips and advice that they’re giving us that we know that we can go out there and give the Portland Thorns a good game.”

A big team goal is to get an NWSL title for retiring captain Ali Krieger, as the 39-year-old defender has not won the league championship in her career. Nighswonger in particular would like to see Krieger come out on top, as Krieger has taken the rookie under her wing.

“The first name that stands out to me the most is Ali Krieger,” she said when asked who has been helping her out in her rookie season. “She’s been so helpful to me, especially because I’ve been playing a new position this year, I’m not normally left-back. And she’s just been so helpful in taking all of the time that she can to help me and give me confidence and really take me under her wing, help me learn the new position.”