NWSL Matchday 3
Who: Chicago Red Stars (0-2-0, 0 pts) vs Kansas City Current (0-2-0, 0 pts)
When: Saturday, April 15th at 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: SeatGeek Stadium | Bridgeview, Illinois
Listen: KC Current Radio on the Kansas City Current app
Two teams looking for their first points meet as the Kansas City Current (0-2-0, 0 pts) travel to face the Chicago Red Stars (0-2-0, 0 pts). The NWSL took a break for the international window and the league returns to action this weekend. The Current now have three matches in eight days. After facing the Red Stars, Kansas City heads south to play the Houston Dash on Wednesday in the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup. The Current return home to host the Orlando Pride on the following Sunday.
Kansas City and Chicago are two of the three teams remaining without a point, Orlando rounds out the bottom trio.
Injuries, absences and more injuries
The Current made a big splash in the off-season by signing several high-profile free agents but many of the new additions are unavailable or just returning from injury. Nine players are listed as out and one as questionable for Kansas City. The bright side for the Current is that Debinha played 20 minutes in their last match and Vanessa DiBernardo was available. With additional time to train, both could see time in the match to varying degrees.
Two major additions to the availability report are Alex Loera and Cece Kizer. Defender/midfielder Loera has an unknown foot injury. “Alex obviously sustained an injury that basically we could have held off or address it now. We chose to address it now,” Current head coach Matt Potter explained. “That gives her the timeline to work to get back to be able to contribute and that’s what we wanted to do. She made the decision along with the leadership of the club and now’s the time for her to kind of put herself in a place where she’ll be, feel even better than she’s shown already. We’re going to be out without her for a while, but that’s okay. We have others that we believe in.”
Potter would not give exact timelines for Loera, “Medically, I’m no expert, I would defer to those guys but it’s going to be a couple of weeks, at least probably.” The club will not elaborate on when or what happened but have revealed it is a right foot injury.
Loera has filled in as the main defensive midfielder when Desiree Scott is unavailable and with the Canadian mid out long term was expected to be the consistent starter in that role.
Mallory Weber, who tore her ACL in last season’s opener, has been promoted to questionable and has looked good in practice. When asked about Weber, Potter responded, “What a story and what a personality, and somebody were really excited to get back out there. She’s really, really, really close to being letting loose in the center, really excited for her because she’ll give us another explosive player, another aggressive player. And yeah, the team will be better for when she’s available for selection.”
Kizer is unavailable with an excused absence but is expected to be back for the midweek Challenge Cup match. Kizer is the lone goal scorer this season for the Current and their leading scorer last season.
The Red Stars do not have as many listed as out but were dealt a severe blow to their lineup during the international break. Forward Mallory Swanson suffered a torn patella tendon against Ireland while playing with the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT). Swanson was expected to be a big part of the attack for both Chicago and the USWNT at the World Cup.
Swanson has been on fire for both club and country over the last year and was in the best form of her career. Last season, Swanson scored almost a third of the goals for Chicago (11 of 34).
Kansas City Current
OUT: Elizabeth Ball (hamstring), Morgan Gautrat (calf), Hanna Glas (knee), Kristen Hamilton (knee), Cece Kizer (excused absence), Claire Lavogez (SEI – knee), Alex Loera (foot), Sam Mewis (SEI – knee), Desiree Scott (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Mallory Weber (knee)
Chicago Red Stars
OUT: Emily Boyd (knee), Addie McCain (ankle), Kayla Sharples (knee), Mallory Swanson (knee)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current attacker Debinha – The Brazilian midfielder was injured during the She Believes Cup and made her return to action last match, coming off the bench. She did not quite get back to her normal form in that cameo but has had more time to practice and get back any lost fitness. Debinha was the most coveted NWSL free agent in the off-season and the Current expect her to contribute to the attack.
Kansas City Current midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo – DiBernardo could (probably) make her debut for the Current. It could be a storybook tale facing her former team in her hometown.
Chicago Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato – The Red Stars will be counting on Yuki Nagasoto with the loss of Mallory Swanson. With Kizer and Swanson out and “own goal” not counting, Nagasoto is the only available player between the two teams that has scored this season.