To say the Kansas City Current’s 2023 season has been unexpectedly bad is quite the understatement. Coming into the season, the Current were definitely viewed as one of the top teams in the National Women’s Soccer League having come off a loss in the championship game in 2022 against the Portland Thorns.
Beyond that, they had bolstered their team in many ways. They added Brazilian superstar Debinha as well as NWSL veterans Vanessa DiBernardo and Morgan Gautrat. They spent big to swing a trade to draft Michelle Cooper number two overall and they brought in internationals like Hanna Glas and Mimmi Larsson.
But everyone was hurt. Things got so bad they had to sign free agents off the street to try and compete. They started 0-3-0 and head coach Matt Potter was unceremoniously let go, while on a road trip with the team.
In came interim head coach Caroline Sjoblom and things haven’t been much better. While the team did go 4-1-1 in the Challenge Cup, there is a bit of an asterisk as three of those games were played during the World Cup break when clubs were missing players. Additionally, the Current’s Central group has four teams that are all below the playoff line, despite 50 percent of the teams making the playoffs. Not to mention some of those early games, which were midweek games, had other teams not taking them as serious as the Current who played their starters.
Add to that, KC’s record in league play, since the firing, is just 5-7-0 (5-10-0 on the season). Not a single draw. This leaves the Current dead last in the entire NWSL, one point behind the Chicago Red Stars, who were thought to be rebuilding. Which leaves us with the question: can they make the playoffs?
Right now, the Current have 15 points through 15 games, with just seven regular season games remaining. They are only six points out of the sixth and final playoff spot because the teams are incredibly tightly packed together.
Despite the terrible run, it’s definitely not over. However, the sample size on a 12 team leagues is one season. This is year two of the format (with more expansion on the horizon). In 2022, the Red Stars finished 6th and that required 33 points.
However, there was a huge discrepancy in points last year with NJ/NY Gotham FC finishing dead last with just 13 points and the Washington Spirit sitting on 19. Right now, all the teams are above Gotham’s performance last year with seven games to play and already eight of the 12 teams have 19 or more points. Because of that, the number to make the playoffs almost certainly won’t be 33. If it was 33, Kansas City would need to win six of their seven games, which would almost be impossible.
Instead, that number will likely be lower, with many experts predicting around 30 points being the floor to get in, meaning they still need five wins in seven games. That task is made more difficult by the fact that they play four of seven games on the road down the stretch.
- vs. OL Reign – August 19th
- @ Houston Dash – August 26th
- vs. Angel City FC – September 1st
- @ San Diego Wave – September 16th
- @ Washington Spirit – September 30th
- vs. Red Stars – October 7th
- @ Gotham FC – October 15th
Sandwiched in there, on Sept. 6th is a semifinal Challenge Cup game with the North Carolina Courage and potentially a final if they advance.
Of the regular season games, four of the seven are also against teams above the playoff line. It won’t be an easy road.
The Current can make the playoffs, but it’ll be very difficult. They might not need to win out, but to feel really safe, they probably need to win six of seven. Five of seven may do the trick but results elsewhere will determine that. If they can make it; they’ll be the hottest team in the league. It’s a huge if.