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Match Preview: KC Current at Houston Dash

Undefeated and headed south



Not that this would make any positional sense, but if KC trotted out a starting 11 that consisted of Bia, Chawinga, DiBernardo, Wheeler, LaBonta, Rodriguez, Feist, Pheiffer, Hamilton, Spaanstra, & Lavogez, their entire lineup would include goal-scorers this season. It’s true! Six matches into the 2024 season the KC Current already have had eleven different players find the back of the net. No other team comes close to matching that diversity of attack. The Current are sitting at 20 goals scored in all with a plus nine goal differential. On Sunday, they will match up against the Houston Dash, owners of a minus eight differential.

Things couldn’t be going much better for the Current as they near the season’s quarter mark. They sit alone in first place and have a game in hand on the teams chasing them. They are only two points shy of having taken maximum points thus far with five wins, no losses, and a single draw. They are scoring goals at a record pace and what had been their perceived weakness, conceding goals, appears to be moving in the right direction. Since giving up four goals in their opening match, they’ve allowed two goals twice and just a single goal three times. They are, though, still looking for their first shutout and there is a chance that this weekend’s game could give them that opportunity.

Houston come in having endured a much different season thus far. They sit in 12th place and are coming off a 0-0 draw against fellow cellar dwellers Utah. The team has also been in the news recently as María Sánchez, who signed the (at the time) richest contract in NWSL history this offseason requested a trade just a few matches into the season. The team granted her wish and shipped her off to San Diego. Her desire to want out shortly after becoming the league’s highest paid player is not a glowing endorsement of the state of things in southeastern Texas. (To fill her roster spot, the team did acquire Ramona Bachmann from Paris Saint-Germain.)

There is also a perception that Houston fans aren’t particularly enthusiastic about their team—just listen to LaBonta’s conversation with Nichelle Prince as evidence of that. (It’s true that Houston averaged just 5.8K fans per home match last season.) Speaking of Prince, she was involved in the trade that sent fan favorite CeCe Kizer to Houston in the offseason. Prince, the Canadian international, has been working her way back from injury and has yet to appear for the Current. There are indications, though, that she’s ready to go and getting her some minutes in the team’s trip south might provide her extra motivation to become the 12th different goal scorer for Kansas City. Meanwhile, there is a chance KC won’t get to face Kizer as she appears to be dealing with a knock of her own and didn’t dress for Houston’s match against the Royals.

In terms of total injuries for the Current, this is the healthiest they’ve been in years. There is competition at practically every spot and there will inevitably be quality options left off the gameday roster because of the impressive depth. I suggested above that Prince might be in line to become the team’s 12th goal scorer, but what about Debinha? The fact that this team is undefeated and leading the league in goals with their (arguably) best player having played only portions of two halves thus far is incredible. It doesn’t seem like the team is going to be slowing down anytime soon.

One note about the team’s depth, while there were nine days between KC’s match in LA and this one in TX, there will be only three days before the team heads to Seattle for a tilt with the Reign on Wednesday night. Then, there are just four more days before coming home to face the Courage. For the first time this season squad rotation may be an important strategy for Vlatko and his staff.

While this will be Houston & Kansas City’s first meeting this season, they are quite familiar with each other. In large part due to the regional grouping of the (previous formatting of the) Challenge Cup, KC and Houston have clashed at least four times in each of the past couple seasons. Last year, the Current went 2-1-1 in all competitions against the Dash, one of the only teams KC had a winning record against in an otherwise forgettable season.

This weekend the Dash face the unenviable task of trying to slow (both literally and metaphorically) the Current while also needing to figure out a way through a defense that is rounding into form. That may prove to be too much to ask for a team dealing with recent roster turnover and really still trying to find an identity this season. If KC plays its game the Dash won’t be able to keep pace.

WHEN: Sunday, May 5 at 12:00 PM (Central Time)

WHERE: Shell Energy Stadium, Houston, Texas

HOW TO WATCH: CBS/Paramount+


Current: 5-1-0 (16 points, 1st place)

Houston Dash: 1-2-3 (5 points, 12th place)

Last Match:

Current: 3-1 win away at Angel City FC

Houston Dash: 0-0 draw away at Utah Royals

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