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It’s On! (KC Current v Portland Thorns Preview)

The NWSL season kicks off in Kansas City on Saturday afternoon with a nationally broadcast match between the Thorns and the Current.



Hamilton after scoring on Courage in 2022 | Credit: Thad Bell

Kansas City Current vs. Portland Thorns

When: Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 12:00 PM CT

Where: CPKC Stadium in Kansas City, MO

How to Watch/Stream: ABC (National Broadcast)/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes

Walking through the shiny new confines of CPKC Stadium during the STM open house last weekend filled me with a tingle. It’s real. It’s ours. And on Saturday afternoon it will open to the world and usher in a new era of women athletes not needing to settle as second-class anything. Oh, and the match itself should be pretty darn good too!

CPKC Stadium, It’s a Big Deal

The NWSL season kicks off in Kansas City with a rematch of the 2022 Championship game. Since its inception, Portland has been one of the standard-bearers for consistency and success as a 3-time league champion. Meanwhile, the KC Current have only existed for three seasons and the championship loss remains the biggest match KC has played. And yet the Midwestern team is building something exciting and could become one of the more high-profile teams in women’s football (sorry, soccer). A part of that is certainly the stadium (and training facility that came before), but it’s by no means limited to facilities.

As this site has detailed over the offseason, the Current team that takes the field for an ABC broadcast could be younger and more international than the one that drew away to the soon-to-be champions, Gotham, at the end of last season. Simply looking at the attack, the team has added teenagers Alex Pfeiffer and Claire Hutton and internationals Temwa Chawinga (Malawi), Nichelle Prince (Canada), and Bia Zaneratto (Brazil). Speaking of Bia, she suited up for her country and started in the Gold Cup Final on Sunday against the United States. In fact, rosters for that match featured a quartet of Thorns (Coffey, Smith, Sauerbrunn, and Moultrie) squaring off against a trio of Current (Bia, Debinha, and Lauren). At least in my household, that made for a complex rooting interest.

Again, our site already has recently published thorough discussions of how KC’s roster has changed since last season (not to mention now being led by former USWNT and FCKC manager, Vlatko Andonovski), so no need to rehash all that info here. But as for the Current’s opponents on Saturday, they’ve made headlines too over the off season. Portland bid farewell to World Cup champion Crystal Dunn but brought in Canadian captain Jessie Fleming. The Thorns paid over a quarter-million dollars in a transfer fee to Chelsea for Fleming which is another indication of the progress of the women’s game.

To be sure, Portland is a team loaded with talent and it would be surprising if they don’t have a say in who earns the Shield and the trophy by the end of the season. In fact, ESPN has them with the second-best odds of claiming the title just behind San Diego. By comparison, KC is in a three-way tie for 6th best odds. And while nothing will be definitively decided this weekend, a tone could be set for what is to follow.

Last year’s season for Kansas City was derailed early and often by injuries so just making it through this match with a clean bill of health will be a success as compared to a year ago (the team is going to be without the services of at least three injured athletes already with Prince, Glas, and Weber all in recovery). With that said, this city is ready to explode with excitement if the team gets out of the gate well and what better season-opening litmus test than long-time nemesis Portland.

Come to witness history as CPKC Stadium debuts, stay to witness a heavyweight bout as some of the most talented soccer players in the world square off before a national audience.

KC Baby!

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