Connect with us

KC Current

Match Preview: Racing Louisville at Kansas City Current

As the Current prepare to welcome a team that celebrates its connections to Churchill Downs, we explore which is in a better position to capture the checkered flag (and win a soccer match).

Published

on

Credit: Thad Bell

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the term pole position? It dates back to equine racing and “refers to the fastest-qualifying horse, which would start the race next to the pole of the inside fence.” It has now become simply an expression used to indicate someone in an advantageous position to do well or finish first.

A third of the way through the NWSL regular season, and pole position feels like a fitting term for the Kansas City Current. The team sits atop the standings and a quick glance at the upcoming schedule suggests they should be comfortably favored in at least their next four matches. Plus, they definitely have speed on their side (as they host a Kentucky Derby team).

After a challenging but not unsuccessful series of three straight road matches, the team returned home (to complete a set of three games in a week) on Sunday and earned a victory over North Carolina. While KC was on the front foot most of the match and once again decimated an opponent in terms of shots, the home fans weren’t treated to the sort of scoreline they’d grown accustomed to over the first couple months of the season. But a 1-0 win counts just the same as a 5-2 victory and Coach Andonovski seemed pleased with the narrow result, suggesting it “strengthens the character (and) the mentality of the team.”

The W also saw Debinha become the 12th different goal-scorer for the team this season, a truly remarkable stat for being just nine games in.

Who will be number 13? Michelle Cooper? Nichelle Prince? Claire Hutton? Hailie Mace? I fully expect each of the players (and perhaps more) to tally a goal in the near future. At the same time, reports are that Bia is getting close to a return which would likely see more goals from the front line as she and Chawinga were developing quite the chemistry before she went down with her foot issue. Over the last few matches (with Bia out), opposing defenses have been able to key in on Chawinga in a way that they can’t when the Brazilian #9 is out there.

With more rest and no travel since their last match, Kansas City should be ready to welcome Racing Louisville to the fortress that is CPKC Stadium. Racing is a team that began the season undefeated over their first six matches but managed only eight points from those as five of the fixtures ended in a tie. They have fallen all the way to 11th in the 14-team league and have only a single victory (against the lowly Royals) to their name.

Additionally, they are currently on a two-match losing streak, falling to the Orlando Pride and the Washington Spirit. Louisville has scored exactly half as many goals as Kansas City has this season (11 compared to 22) and have just a +2 goal differential. They also don’t feature the same star power that several of KC’s opponents have of late, though both Savannah DeMelo and Taylor Flint (n√©e Kornieck) have recent USWNT experience.

The primary questions coming into this match center on whether or not the Current will be able to return to their high-scoring ways. Such was their blistering start to the season that, even after scoring just twice over the past three matches, KC still leads the league in total goals scores–outpacing even Sophia Smith’s super-woman efforts for Portland. But unless it’s remedied soon, this could be troubling trend. Early on, KC was scoring more than their “expected goals” would suggest they should be, and now they are scoring less. Some of this could be explained by Bia’s absence and teams no longer being caught off guard by Chawinga’s skillset.

My colleague, Robert Rusert, just published a nice breakdown of how the team managed to overcome a Courage defense set on limiting KC’s chances to mostly long-range efforts. It definitely seems important that the squad prioritize runners in the box. They have sent in innumerable shots and crosses of late, and many of those have bounced through the six or presented opportunities for a rebound only to go wanting. Debinha’s goal was likely one of the easiest of her career, but she wouldn’t have gotten it if she hadn’t continued her run to the far post when Chawinga was firing a shot at the near. I don’t see any way that Racing prevents the Current from getting off a lot of shots, but again the question is whether they can finish those chances or have players in good position to pounce.

In a week during which team co-owner Patrick Mahomes publicly celebrated women’s sports (and a Chiefs teammate did, uh, something else), the Kansas City Current find themselves in the pole position to out race Louisville and continue being a pacesetter for an exciting era of football.

WHEN: Saturday, May 18 at 8:30 PM (Central Time)

WHERE: CPKC Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

HOW TO WATCH: 38 The Spot/ion

Record:

KC Current: 6-3-0 (21 points, 1st place)

Racing Louisville FC: 1-5-2 (8 points, 11th place)

Last Match:

KC Current: 1-0 win home to North Carolina Courage

Racing Louisville FC: 1-2 defeat home the Washington Spirit

Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

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.

Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

0
Make your voice heard. Leave a comment!x
()
x