Connect with us

KC Current

Lineup and Formation Predictions for the KC Current

What lineup will the Kansas City Current put out to start their new era inside CPKC Stadium against the Portland Thorns?



It's pretty sad to see how many of these players are gone from the team. | Credit: Thad Bell

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but the Kansas City Current are making history this weekend (of course you have, it’s everywhere and rightfully so)! If you’ve been under a rock for the last few weeks, let us catch you up through a series of stories and podcasts.

With all that information to consume, there are still a ton of questions to be answered about the actual team that will step onto the field Saturday. Who is gonna play where? What formation will they be in? Let’s break it down and take some educated guesses that will almost certainly be deeply flawed.

What Formation Will We See?

This team is suddenly incredibly deep and seemingly can lineup in a slew of formations. However, I think it’s most likely that we’ll either see a 4-3-3 that Kansas City soccer fans should be familiar with. Or perhaps a 4-2-3-1. Even at 4-3-3 can easily morph into a 4-2-3-1 if the triangle in the midfield is inverted and the team plays with two defensive midfielders. The “wide midfielders” in the 4-2-3-1 are nearly the same as wingers in a 4-3-3.

It’s always possible a three in the back formation could be on the table as well as this team has four starting quality center backs and question marks at the fullback spots (particularly on the right). However, for the purpose of this story, we’ll go with a 4-3-3 because if you are a Sporting Kansas City fan, it’ll be easy to envision that in your mind. Also, it’s how Vlatko Andonovski played with the USWNT most of the time.

Position-by-Position Breakdown

Let’s look at each spot and talk through who may play.


This is easy. It’ll be AD Franch in net. Jordan Silkowitz is now the backup with Cassie Miller traded to NJ/NY Gotham. Silkowitz was recalled from loan in Australia this week and likely will sit the bench. Rookie Hope Hisey is in the 3rd spot.

Right Back

Probably the second biggest question on the whole team is who is playing RB. Hanna Glas was signed last year but remains on the season-ending injury list (don’t worry, you can come off the list). She is not available in week one. The only other natural right back on the team is second-round pick Ellie Wheeler and it’s not out of the question she starts.

However, I’m going to go for Hailie Mace here. She’s actually right footed and has been playing inverted on the left side. That’s fine if you are playing in a back five as they did for much of 2022, but in 2023 (and with the USWNT) she was exposed at times as a LB in a back four. Vlatko says he sees her as a fullback, so right back feels like the spot. It’s so much easier to move towards the sideline on your dominant foot.

Center Backs

Elizabeth Ball is an unquestioned starter for me. As for who she is paired with, it’s wide open. Gabby Robinson, a second-round pick in 2022 who the team liked enough to sign to a long-term extension, played really well in the second half of the year.

However, the team has two other starting caliber CBs in Denmark’s Stine Ballisager Pederson and Brazil’s Lauren. While I like the Ball/Robinson pairing, something tells me it’ll be Stine with E. Ball.

Left Back

If Mace is on the right, the only answer on the left is Izzy Rodriguez. I’m really high on Izzy as a player. I feel like she has fringe USWNT vibes at LB. Let’s move Crystal Dunn play in the midfield where she is at her best and get Rodriguez to the National Team. Being a consistent starter at her club will go a long way towards that.

Defensive Midfielder

If right back is my second biggest question, d-mid is my first. While the team brought back Desiree Scott, she is still on the SEI list and is likely to be unavailable for a bit longer. The club also signed Sophie Braun, but I remain unconvinced. According to an interview with ESPN’s Jeff Kassouf, Claire Hutton is the starter.

The 18-year-old signed a contract on the U-18 initiative and then immediately aged out of that designation. She’s spent time with the USWNT U-20s and may be making a pretty big impact right out of the gate.

Box-to-Box Midfielder (#8)

While Sporting KC often play with dual number 8s, I suspect this will be a bit of a hybrid role that goes to Lo LaBonta. She’s a veteran presence. Let her actually play next to Hutton at times to provide cover but do the ground cover work she’s very capable of. Also, that’ll release Debinha to do her thing further up the pitch.

Attacking Midfielder (#10)

It’s Debinha. That said, the midfield as a whole has a ton of flexibility. Claire Lavogez has some #10 tendencies (and can frankly play as a forward too, as can Debinha). DiBernardo, when she comes off the SEI, can play here too (or for Lo and maybe even d-mid). There is no reason Vlatko shouldn’t use his subs with the talent he has on the bench.

The Forwards

Instead of breaking it down by position, I’m going to lump everyone together for a number of reasons:

  • Bia is thought of as a CF, but she played out wide at times for Brazil.
  • Kristen Hamilton played a lot of CF but can play wide.
  • Michelle Cooper played a lot of winger but can play CF.
  • I’m not sure where Temwa Chawinga lines up, but she seems to be a weapon that’ll need to get on the field.
  • Alexa Spaanstra and Nichelle Prince (injured) are both likely wingers, but I’d guess neither of them start.
  • Alex Pfeiffer seems capable of playing across the front line as well, though lined up on the left wing at the U-17 CONCACAF Championship recently. She’s just 16 so I don’t see her starting, but it’d be amazing to see her sub in.

In other words, there is a ton of flexibility here. I struggled at d-mid and RB because there are just question marks. At forward, it’s an overabundance of talent. If I’m forced to pick, I’ll say it’s Cooper, Chawinga and Hamilton starting and maybe fluidly moving between spots. Bia should get on the field but has been with Brazil at the W Gold Cup the last month.

In the end, here is my very unconfident prediction for a starting XI.

Overall, there are so many unknowns. How will Vlatko Andonovski line up his team? Will he switch between formations depending on how things are going? How aggressively will he sub? Saturday will likely just provide a glimpse into what this season holds.

Update 11:41 PM: Cooper is out injured. Let’s put in Bia? Who knows! 

Recent Comments

KC Soccer Journal in your Inbox!

Be the first to know when news breaks, sign up to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.


Follow us on Twitter