The Kansas City Current (3-1-1, 10 pts) return home with a single point after a scoreless draw at the Chicago Red Stars (0-4-1, 1pt) in Challenge Cup group play. The Current started the game strong and had their chances but could not take the lead.
The best chance for Kansas City came in the 23rd minute when they earned a penalty kick. Mimmi Larsson’s cross was blocked by Kayla Sharples. A handball was called when the Chicago defender’s slide brought her into contact with the ball.
Lo’eau LaBonta was making her first start since June and was hungry for a goal. LaBonta was the first choice penalty taker in 2022 and she did not hesitate to step up to the penalty spot. LaBonta drove the attempt hard but a little too close to Chicago keeper Emily Boyd. The shot was deflected to the side, rebounding off the post and quickly cleared from danger by Chicago.
The Current was the better team in the first half, but the Red Stars flipped the script in the second half. A combination of LaBonta exiting at half and other adjustments on both sides turned the tide in favor of Chicago.
While the Red Stars were the better team in the second half, they were no better at finding the net than the visitors. On both ends the keepers snuffed out a number of chances. Boyd made five saves and AD Franch made three.
“It was a really tough game tonight with two teams that really wanted to win the game,” interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom told media post game. “I think we had the first half and I think they had the second half. So, I think a tie is objectively good enough right now, and for me I’m proud of the defensive work that we did at the end of the game.”
While the Current can be disappointed they did not earn all three points in Chicago, they got a little help from the Houston Dash. Racing Louisville FC fell 1-0 in Houston, letting the Current pick up a point in the standings.
Louisville is in first place with 12 points and the Current have 10 in second place in the Central Division. The Current host Louisville on August 5th and can take first place spot with a win. Even without a win, Kansas City could potentially still earn the top second-place spot that would advance them into the knockout rounds.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs Kansas City Current
Date: July 29, 2023
Venue: Seatgeek Stadium, Bridgeview, Illinois
Kickoff: 7:08 p.m. PT / 9:08 p.m. CT
Weather: 79 degrees, sunny
15’ KC – Rodriguez (Yellow)
73’ KC – Winebrenner (Yellow)
75’ CHI – St. Georges (Yellow)
83’ KC – Childers (Yellow)
90’ CHI – Bike (Yellow)
Chicago Red Stars Lineup: Boyd, Sharples, Davidson ©, Malham, Krueger, Roccaro, St-Georges (81’ Bike), Nagasato, Cook (70’ Schlegel), Bianchi, Hocking (62’ Griffith)
Unused Substitutes: Dossey, Feller, Kowalski, McCain, Jones, Aguilera
Kansas City Current Lineup: Franch, Rodriguez, Robinson, Ball, Del Fava, LaBonta (46’ Childers), Loera (64’ Winebrenner), Kizer (64’ Mace), Spaanstra, Hamilton ©, Larsson (77’ Merrick)
Unused Substitutes: Curran, Silkowitz, Soto, Miller