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Lynn Williams: Extended stoppage time could help World Cup prep

Lynn Williams scored the latest goal in NWSL history in Gotham's 2-0 win Saturday against Orlando. (Cory Knowlton/USA TODAY Sports)

Increased stoppage time is a growing trend in international soccer, and it could soon become one in the domestic game as well.

During Saturday’s 2-0 win for Gotham FC, Lynn Williams netted one of the latest goals in NWSL history thanks to the 19 minutes of stoppage time. Both of Gotham’s goals came in stoppage time, the first off Midge Purce’s penalty kick in the 10th minute and the second off Williams’ foot in the 17th minute.

When asked about the lengthy stoppage time in the victory against the Orlando Pride, Williams noted that it could change the way players handle the game.

“I can’t say it’s going to help or hinder. I think that it’s a long time,” she said. “Those are long periods of time, and it definitely changes – not necessarily the way that you play, but how long you have to mentally stay focused and stay in it.”

There has been a push from FIFA’s rule-making panel to increase stoppage time and make 100-minute matches more routine, similar to those seen at the men’s World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

At that tournament, matches routinely featured at least five minutes of stoppage time after each half, following FIFA instructions. The increased stoppage time is meant to account for time spent on injuries, celebrations, substitutions and VAR reviews.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup also could see an increase in stoppage time.

“I think that right now, if we’re going to move to that and do that, it’s always great to have experience no matter what you do in life,” Williams said. “I do think it’s great to have experience to know what you’re getting yourself into, so it’s not a surprise when or if it does happen.”