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KC Current battle Gotham to a 2-2 draw

Rookie Spaanstra scores second goal in two games



Alexa Spaanstra scored for Kansas City | Credit: Thad Bell

The Kansas City Current entered the last match of the 2023 NWSL season knowing they were already eliminated from playoffs. While they knew they were out, Kansas City did not want to go down quietly. After a terrific 6-3 performance over Chicago last week, the Current wanted to end with another good result against NJ/NY Gotham FC. With the playoffs on the line for Gotham, they played for a win and dominated the early play.

Ultimately both sides played well and earned a deserved 2-2 draw. The Current finished the season in eleventh place with 26 points while Gotham just managed to hold on to a playoff spot in 6th with 31 points.

Gotham came out strong and forced normally sure-footed Alex Loera into a bad touch. Gotham midfielder Delanie Sheehan took the ball from Loera and slid it out to Midge Purce as she ran into the box. Purce threaded the shot between AD Franch, a sliding defender and the far post to put the home team up 1-0 in just the 6th minute.

It did not take long for Gotham to double the lead. Former Kansas City defender picked out Yazmeen Ryan in the midfield. Ryan sliced through the Current defense, beating several defenders and Franch from point-blank range in the 15th minute.

The momentum shifted in Kansas City’s favor after the Ryan goal and the quality play paid off for the Current. Loera picked out rookie Alexa Spaanstra on the far side, setting her up to take dribble at the defense. Spaanstra nutmegged outside back Jenna Nighswonger and dodged Purce making a run back before making driving to the center. Spaanstra took the shot with her weaker foot and looped the ball over keeper Mandy Haught and just into the upper corner in the 26th minute. Spaanstra scored a similar goal last match with her right foot.

With the deficit cut in half, the Current pushed, pressured, and made runs that threw Gotham off their stride. As Haught tried to play out to defender Ali Krieger, Kristen Hamilton forced the Gotham keeper into an error. Hamilton got a touch on the pass but Haught battled her for the ball in the box until the Current forward finally gained control. Krieger made a run back and just blocked Hamilton’s shot. It was an effort that proved why Krieger has been a legend with the US Women’s National Team in the past. With this being Krieger’s last regular season game before retirement, she demonstrated that quality for the home fans once more.

Despite coming up short when Krieger made a save earlier, Kansas City did not relent. Loera demonstrated her playmaking ability once again when she played a ball over the top to Debinha. The Brazilian star was well clear of Gotham defenders so she cut in towards the box from the end line. The pass just missed Hamilton but found Nighswonger who knocked it in for an own goal  in the 36th to level it at 2-2.

The remainder of the half went back and forth for both teams. After the break, Gotham again came out strong and dominated most of the second half. They were desperate for all three points and created more shots and dangerous opportunities. While Gotham fell short of the win, they did secure a playoff spot.

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