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KC Current’s Record Pace

The Kansas City Current have raced out of the gates at a record setting goal scoring pace. Could they set the NWSL record?

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Credit: Thad Bell

The Kansas City Current are having a dream start to their season. All eyes were on them as they opened their trend-setting stadium two weeks ago in a win against the perennial “Thorns” in their sides, and they’ve now followed that up with two more victories. They’ve sold out their pair of home matches, effectively averaging 11,500 in attendance per match and have slayed not only the top two teams from the 2023 regular season standings, but just picked up their first ever victory over Angel City.

They are the only team in the league at nine points through three matches (3-0-0) which puts them on pace to earn 78 points over the full season. The current league record for points in a season is the 57 the Courage earned in 2018. While the Current clearly aren’t going to win every game this year, they’re putting themselves in a strong position out of the gate. By comparison, last year’s Shield winners, the Wave, only earned 37 points from 22 matches–a 1.68 points per match average. KC is already nearly a quarter of the way there!

But what is perhaps the most exciting development for the team during this young season is their goal scoring. Through three games, the Current have tallied 11 goals. That’s a pace of 3⅔ goals per match. In two home games, the team has scored nine goals for a pace of 4½ goals per match. For anyone not that familiar with professional soccer, those are very high rates of scoring. In 2019, the North Carolina Courage notched 54 goals, the record for an NWSL season. Kansas City is currently on pace to score over 95 goals this year. Again, it’s exceedingly unlikely they’ll come close to that number, but topping 54?

Part of what has made this goal-scoring output so exciting is the way in which they’ve done it. The eleven goals so far have been scored by nine different players (DiBernardo, Wheeler, Bia, Hamilton, Pfeiffer, Rodriguez, LaBonta, Spaanstra, and Chawinga).

This isn’t a team that’s going to live or die by a single superstar. In fact, if this team does have a “superstar”, it would probably be Debinha, who not only has yet to score this season, she’s played less than a single full half due to injury. And she’s not the only goal-scoring threat sidelined with injury right now as Michelle Cooper and Nichelle Prince haven’t entered a match so far. The depth of this team, especially in the attack, is ridiculous, and so far they are playing incredibly complementary soccer.

Again, most of the goals this season haven’t simply been remarkable individual efforts. There have been some beautiful assists and some multi-pass buildups. Andonovski is getting a lot of credit for pulling the right strings to this point in the season, and yet with all the weapons at his disposal, he’s in a pretty enviable position.

Even as it’s been goal-by-committee thus far, there are definitely some stars in the making on this team. Bia Zaneratto and Temwa Chawinga are both just three games into their NWSL careers and yet both look like they will soon be household names for fans. A long-time Brazilian international, Bia has been instrumental in KC’s attack in all three matches. She scored in the opener, earned the PK in San Diego, and not only scored against Angel City but also had a primary and secondary assist in the game. She is strong, quick, has a deft touch and a blistering shot. Her ability to be physical directly led to the team’s first and third tallies yesterday.

And speaking of quick, Chawinga’s speed is an absolute game-wrecker. As has been stated many times, the Malawian international scored the most total goals (for club and country) of any athlete, male or female, in 2023. Despite this, her signing to join the Current went under the radar and she somehow continues to seem to catch teams unprepared. It is a distinct treat for KC fans to get to watch her simply outrun opponents–she had been in the game literally one minute in the opener when her speed and tenacity set up Hamilton for a goal.

Portland’s backline and ‘keeper were clearly caught off guard by her ability to catch up to the ball. And don’t for one minute think that Chawinga’s only weapon is her quickness; she’s been officially credited with two assists and nearly destroyed the woodwork in San Diego with a cannon of a shot. Equally important, she is very willing to help back on defense and snuffed out multiple counterattacks when Angel City were threatening to wreck the party late. (Side note, she also fully giftwrapped an opportunity for Claire Lavogez to become the team’s 10th goal scorer on the season in stoppage time yesterday only for Lavogez to find the one spot where her shot would be saved.)

The upshot of all this is that Kansas City has the look of a team that is going to be very hard to keep off the scoreboard. The squad has put away 11 chances thus far and yet is still getting used to playing with each other. This is a very different roster than the one that finished the 2023 season, and many of the new acquisitions have had precious little time in training with the team. Just imagine how dangerous the Current will be when they’ve had months to fully develop a chemistry and when they get back to being closer to full health. The train horn sound that blasts through CPKC Stadium when goals are scored is going to become the nightmare soundtrack for all the adversaries that come to town. Consider the Courage’s 2019 scoring record officially on notice.

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