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KC Current Mistakes Doom Them in Louisville

The Kansas City Current went on the road to face Racing Louisville in the Challenge Cup in a game that was a track meet. Catch all the goals in this five goal affair.



AD Franch | Credit: Imagn | KC Current

The Kansas City Current hit the road to face Racing Louisville in KC’s second UKG Challenge Cup game. KC found themselves leading in the Central Division after a win against the Houston Dash in their opening match. This was Louisville’s first game of the competition. Both teams rolled out lineups with heavy rotation. The Current only kept five starters from the weekend, adding in a first start for former UMKC and University of Kansas midfielder, Rylan Childers.

The game got off to a very strong start for KC as number two overall draft pick Michelle Cooper would open her professional account. She was assisted by fellow first round pick, Alexa Spaanstra.

The lead would be short lived for Kansas City as mistakes started to doom the backline, as is often the case in 2023. First, the Current would get a scare with a Louisville goal that was called back for offside. Then, a self-inflicted wound would immediately lead to a goal. Off the ensuing free kick from the offside call, AD Franch passed it straight to a Louisville player outside the box. One pass later, Savannah DeMelo would get the first of her two goals on the night with a pretty outside of the foot shot.

Just five minutes later, DeMelo found her second. Louisville would make their way up the right side of their attack and cross in a ball which Addisyn Merrick would fail to clear, and it fell straight to DeMelo, who scored from just outside the six-yard box.

The game would continue to be choppy for the remainder of the half. It remained 2-1 at halftime. The second half brought changes for the Current as they tried to claw their way back. Kate Del Fava and Gabby Robinson went to the bench and were replaced by Hailie Mace and Croix Soto respectively. They were like for like changes and KC stayed in their 4-2-3-1 formation. The changes looked to be working for a moment before KC started to once again struggle to deal with Louisville’s pressure.

In the 63rd minute, KC went for the big guns bringing off striker Mimmi Larsson and winger Michelle Cooper for Debinha and Lo’ LaBonta. Debinha would play false 9, Mace would move up to RW and Labonta would play the #10. That dropped Curran, who had been playing out of position as an attacking mid, to d-mid and Winebrenner to CB, with Merrick moving to RB. From there, KC still were incredibly shaky in defense, but they had their moments going forward.

To try and bring things home they subbed on Cece Kizer for Childers, which dropped Lo a bit deeper again. It looked like it may work as they had Racing Louisville under constant pressure. That is, until a corner kick counterattack came from Louisville to make it 3-1 and essentially seal off the game.

Debinha tried to make it interesting late after Alexa Spaanstra had quite the counterattack going before being drug down (by a player on a yellow card). The ball made the way to Debinha who got a deflection for a late KC Current goal.

Ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough as Racing Louisville would hold on for a 3-2 win.

Quick Observations

  • Of the “backups” who played, Izzy Rodriguez clearly looks the most ready to be a starter. She played really well and is as much of an attacking threat from outside back as Mace seemingly is.
  • Spaanstra played really well also and started to show promise as the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft.
  • The defense is still in shambles. They were under constant pressure due to mistakes and turnovers, many of them by the defenders themselves and some inexperienced midfielders in front of them.
  • Childers had an up and down first start. She made some integral tackles, but turned the ball over far too often, including on back-to-back plays in the second half.
  • AD Franch doesn’t look like a third GK on the USWNT. She had another rough performance and her mistake led directly to the first goal. She had another mistake, colliding with Merrick, that should have led to a goal for Louisville but they missed a wide-open net. I don’t see how Cassie Miller isn’t the starter this weekend.
  • Hailie Mace, despite only playing a half, looked really tired. She’s played a ton this season, so hopefully it’s just fatigue and not an injury.
  • Elizabeth Ball was back on the bench, which is a good sign, though she was unused. This team desperately needs her on defense.
  • Kristen Hamilton was on the bench for the second straight game, but also didn’t get into the action. I don’t understand her being on the bench if she’s not going to get into games. They needed goals in this game and this past weekend, yet she remained on the bench.

Anything is possible with this offense, but the defense will have to step up their game to not make every game a track meet. The KC Current are back in action on Saturday, hosting this same Racing Louisville team. It’s at 7:00 PM at Children’s Mercy Park and available on Paramount Plus.

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