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KC Current earn third win of the season, winning 1-0 vs. the North Carolina Courage



Photo: Thad Bell | The Kansas City Soccer Journal
Photo: Thad Bell | The Kansas City Soccer Journal

In a must-win, like for real, game the Kansas City Current hosted the North Carolina Courage at Children’s Mercy Park in front of 10,294 on Pride Night. The Current were looking to snap a three-game losing streak at home against a Courage team on a five-game unbeaten streak. Kansas City, meanwhile, had lost five straight matches in all NWSL competitions and had conceded multiple goals in all five losses (12 total), the longest such in club history.

Starting XI

Kristen Hamilton started for the first time this season after making second-half substitutions the last two games after her return from injury. Midfielder Morgan Gautrat made the game-day roster to hopefully make her Current debut. Like last week, the Current also went 5-3-2, with Hamilton and Cece Kizer up top and a much stronger midfield with Debinha, Lo’eau LaBonta, and Vanessa DiBenardo.

First half: Hamilton is back!

Unable to take the lead in previous games and giving up goals based on defensive mistakes, the Current really needed a strong first half where they capitalized on their chances and minimized those defensive mistakes. Hamilton’s return to the starting line up immediately made the impact, and the Current took the lead by the 8th minute.

Receiving the ball on the outside, Debinha found her old North Carolina teammate, Hamilton, who was able to finish it for the goal, giving the Current a very important lead, and Hamilton’s first goal of the 2023 season.

The Current kept pressing for a second goal and found several opportunities to make it 2-0, including a LaBonta blast that was blocked in the 35th minute, and Cece Kizer taking it all the way to the final third. Still, Kansas City would keep the momentum and the lead at halftime.

Second half: Sometimes one goal is all you need…

A second half substitution brought in Michelle Cooper for Hamilton, who is still working to get back to full 90 minutes. But hey, she had a good first half. Without Hamilton, the attack slowed down a bit, but the Current continued pressing, holding the Courage to 4 shots.

The Courage did press better in the second half, but the Current defense, unlike games past, were much more organized and cleared away chances and blocked opportunities. Meanwhile, Debinha worked to get the Current a second goal, finding Cooper wide open in the box only to have it cleared away by the Courage. Vanessa DiBernardo, in the 74th minute, sent a left-footed shot but missed right.

As the match neared the 90th minute, the Courage appeared to have scored the equalizer, but the goal was called due to an offside, and the Current maintained their lead. And after 8 minutes of stoppage time, Kansas City earned their third win of the season, ending a four-game regular season losing streak.

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