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Lynn Williams cements World Cup case with scorching start for Gotham

(Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Lynn Williams has been on a tear to start the NWSL season, scoring once again Wednesday night for Gotham FC.

The goal marked her fifth in seven games since she joined the New Jersey-based club in the offseason. The game-tying tally helped Gotham to a 1-1 draw with the North Carolina Courage in Challenge Cup competition.

Her five goals in 2023 are more than any Gotham player managed in the 2022 campaign, according to OptaJack.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Gotham coach Juan Carlos Amorós said. “We showed a lot of character. We were under some pressure, so we made some changes at halftime to show that we wanted to come here to win, to be aggressive and offensive from start to finish. The second half was much better. We had chance after chance, and then got the goal from Lynn. If the game went on for a few more minutes, I think we’d have the chance to get the win. But it was a good point.”

Williams was named a member of the NWSL’s Best XI for April. She came off the bench to start the second half in Wednesday’s match, and while she’s still making her way back from injury, she’s quickly proving herself to be a key piece – both for Gotham and for the U.S. women’s national team.

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski has emphasized club play in the selection process for the World Cup. And there’s not a single player, except perhaps for Sophia Smith, that’s been better than Williams to start the NWSL season.

“My focus is just doing what I need to do to help this team and that means being the best Lynn Williams I can possibly be. And being the best Lynn Williams I could possibly be will hopefully help me get on the team,” Williams told reporters following Gotham’s 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit to open the UKG Challenge Cup, in which she notched a game-winning goal.

When speaking with The Athletic, Williams noted she’s more focused on the journey than the destination.

“I’m not really somebody who sets goals,” she told The Athletic. “I’m more of somebody who just looks at the process and the steps it takes you to get there. I think that sometimes when we look too far ahead, we can miss steps in getting us to that ultimate goal for lack of better words.

“I’m more somebody who says, ‘You know what? I’m going to show up every single day, and I’m going to play my best or I’m going to try my hardest.’ And hopefully, that allows me to reach, and have, success. But I think sometimes when we’re too goal-oriented, if we don’t reach that goal, then what? We’re so disappointed when sometimes it’s just about the journey.”