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Breakdown: A Heist for the Kansas City Current

The development of midfielders Bayley Feist and Claire Hutton could key a memorable season for Kansas City Current.



Thad Bell Photography

Four weeks after attending Kansas City Current’s opener at CPKC Stadium on March 16 and after NWSL+ finally  cooperated for me, I am excited to write a breakdown on the Current. The ladies took their undefeated record to the road this week to take on NJ/NY Gotham FC.

And the Current are still undefeated, much to do with the play of their duo of midfielders Bayley Feist and Claire Hutton in the 1-1 draw with Gotham.  Let’s get into it.

In the 96th minute, as Gotham’s Lynn Wiliams penetrates the upper left edge of the Current’s box, the USWNT player is met by two Kansas City defenders. But danger is still present. Gotham had stepped up their play in the second half and were pushing for the go-ahead goal. Yet, in swoops #22 Bayley Feist to extinguish the fire.

Two minutes previous, #14 Claire Hutton had spun away from two defenders despite their efforts to tackle. One, Spanish attacker, Esther, persisted, tugging and pulling on Hutton for yards. Yet, on battled Hutton to keep possession and draw a foul to slow the hectic match for the Current.

A substitute starter (for #10 Lo’eau LaBonta) and an 18-year-old doing more than holding their own against the defending NWSL champions: It seems like just another run of the mill day for the top of the table Kansas City Current. ‘It’s what we do,’ one can almost hear them say. Confidence. Ability. Team. And a bit of swagger.

Those four traits fit the tandem of Feist and Hutton and their performance on Sunday versus Gotham to a tee.

Off the ball, the tandem were Jazz – one complementing the other while exhibiting their own styles. If Feist would step to pressure an attacker, Hutton would fill in the gap behind, providing cover and balance seemingly at the same time. If Hutton won a ball, Feist, playing as a pseudo #10, would be there as the outlet.

On the ball, their quickness, savvy, and vital sense of urgency led to combinations or individual movements out of trouble to provide for the Current’s attack.

Kansas City Current midfielders Claire Hutton and Bayley Feist combine. Credit: NWSL+

And their energy… my goodness their energy.

Near the 28:30 mark, Hutton is in a pack where the Current lose possession. But Hutton does what Hutton does and tracks back 30 yards to poke the ball away. Of course, it is Feist who collects the ball.

I could not find the stat, but Feist and Hutton covered a lot of ground (5-6 miles?) through the course of the match.

Feist is a 27-year-old Cincinnati native who made 38 appearances for Reign FC since 2019 before signing as a free agent with Kansas City in the offseason. Hutton is an 18-year-old from Bethlehem, NY, who has captained US youth teams and played for the boys’ varsity squad her last two years of high school. The match in Red Bull Arena was Feist’s debut, yet Hutton’s fourth start in the Current’s four games.

Feist and Hutton were so adept at tempering Gotham’s midfield, that they were forced into long balls over the top to bypass the two.

However, not all was smooth. At times, Feist and Hutton would show to the same space. And in the second half, Gotham found joy splitting the two as Feist and Hutton struggled with Gotham stepping up the pace of the match with their movement and playing balls to feet. There is work to be done and play to be refined for Feist and Hutton.

But Feist and Hutton’s tenacity never flagged. With some assistance from Current Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 66th minute substitutes, the duo locked things up and shut down Gotham to earn the draw.

Along the way, Hutton threw in some effective and pointed swagger as well. Take it away, Claire:

Credit: NWSL+

Credit: NWSL+

Credit: NWSL+

With the depth provided by Feist and the possibly-on-the-brink-of-stardom of Hutton, their development in such key positions could be the key to a memorable season. Hutton and Feist: a clear heist for the Kansas City Current.

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