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KC Current

KC Current Dominate Chicago in Challenge Cup Match



Credit: Thad Bell

There is no denying the Kansas City Current have struggled to find wins this season. Therefore, the team sits at the bottom of the standings in the NWSL regular season, but Wednesday night was not a regular season match. The mid-week battle was the most recent in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup.

The  Current were looking for a much needed win. The Current took on the Chicago Red Stars at Children’s Mercy Park. The match marked the third match in the Challenge Cup competition. The Current have won one match (2-0 vs Houston Dash)  and lost one match (2-3 vs Racing Louisville) in the competition. The Red Stars have lost both of their Challenge Cup matches with 0-2 results against both Houston and Louisville.

Kansas City came into the match with continued injury problems.

The numerous injuries to key players were not new. The Current have been dealing with many of the injuries on the report for a long time. However, there are players returning from recent injuries including Kristen Hamilton, Morgan Gautrat and Elizabeth Ball.

With those injuries and those returning from injury, the Current made four changes to the starting lineup from the weekend match against OL Reign. Elizabeth Ball, Morgan Gautrat, Michelle Cooper and Izzy Rodriguez took the place of Addisyn Merrick, Chardonnay Curran, Cece Kizer and Croix Soto.


First Half Action

The first half had the Current on the front foot from the kickoff with 3 corner kicks in the first 5 minutes of play. While none of those set pieces resulted in a goal, it was clear early that the Current were going to be pushing forward and looking to have possession of the ball. The pressure from Kansas City continued through much of the first half. They continuously had the ball in the attacking end and often in and around the 18. The Red Stars were able to find a way to block, save or clear the ball.

Michelle Cooper picked up the first yellow of the match in the 19th minute when a goal kick from Alyssa Naeher was struck off of Cooper’s back. Only minutes later, in the 23rd the Red Stars got a free kick off of a foul called on Kate Del Fava. The set piece led to a good ball and a shot on target that was handled well by Cassie Miller.

Throughout the first half, the Red Stars started to settle into the game and had a few more opportunities for possession. However, the Current never let off the gas. Michelle Cooper had a great shot in the 41st minute that was just saved by Naeher. Only a minute later Debinha took the ball away and again forced Naeher into a save.

No matter the amount of possession (58%) or number of shots (11 with 4 on target), the Current had nothing to show for it in the first half. While they played miles better and dominated the Red Stars, the half ended 0-0.

Second Half Action

The second half started with Cece Kizer coming in for Morgan Gautrat. Croix Soto replaced Elizabeth Ball. Gautrat and Ball were both on limited minutes while coming back from injury. The Red Stars replaced Addie McCain with Ava Cook, Casey Krueger replaced Tierna Davidson and Tatumn Milazzo for Kayla Sharples.

The Current’s possession and tenacity paid off when Debinha scores an amazing goal in the 53rd minute. Debinha played a great ball to Hailie Mace who gave it back to Debinha who fires it from the top of the box into the side netting to put the Current up 1-0.

Following the goal, Hailie Mace picked up a yellow card. That yellow card accumulation will put her out of the next Challenge Cup match.

Vanessa DiBernardo gave the Current a second goal in the 58th minute with a fantastic left footed shot from the top of the box.

Only a few minutes later, the Red Stars turn the ball over. Mace sends the ball to Kizer. Cece Kizer joins in the goal-scoring fun with a goal in the 62nd minute. With 3 goals in 8 minutes the Current found themselves up 3-0.

The goal-scoring continues in the 69th minute when DiBernardo sends a beautiful long ball to Debinha who puts her second goal of the night in the back of the net. Debinha was then subbed out of the match and was replaced by Jenna Winebrenner.

The possession and pressure didn’t stop after the 4th goal. The Current continued to find themselves with the ball in dangerous spots through the remainder of the match. While the Current continued their dominance of the match, the Red Stars didn’t threaten to score with the Kansas City defense playing well.

The Current are back in action Sunday, July 18 with a regular season match at home against the Washington Spirit at 6pm.  They will play their next Challenge Cup match July 22 against the Houston Dash.

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