NWSL Matchday 11
Who: Kansas City Current (3-7-0, 9 pts) at OL Reign (5-4-1, 16 pts)
When: Saturday, June 10th, 2023 at 9:00 p.m. CT
Where: Lumen Field| Seattle
Listen: KC Current Radio on the Kansas City Current app
The Kansas City Current (3-7-0, 9 pts) are on the road to face the OL Reign (5-4-1, 16 pts) at Lumen Field in Seattle Saturday night. The Current are fresh off their first win since April and hope to add more results in the win column. The Current win over the North Carolina Courage last weekend ended a four-game losing streak for Kansas City. An early Kristen Hamilton goal set up the 1-0 victory with the Courage dominating possession but not having many quality chances until late in the game.
The Reign are looking to bounce back after a 2-0 loss at home to the rival Portland Thorns. After a good start to the season, the Reign have struggled lately with just one win in their last four games. The Reign have only scored one goal in their four league defeats despite having the second most goals in the league with 17 total and four players with three goals each.
When asked about trying to stop the Reign, Current interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom told media “We have been looking at them a lot and how they score goals. They are a difficult team to play against. They have this possession, a kind of slow build-up but then suddenly they go long, and they want to challenge for the first ball and the second ball. Then there’s always (Megan) Rapinoe out there, wanting to have the cross wanting to have the switch point of attack to her and go one-v-one. She can go inside and go for a shot or make a cross to her teammates. We’ve been focusing a lot of that and how can we shut down their crosses, and we need to be aware of the second balls that they want to challenge. It depends if they have (Jordyn) Huitema on the pitch or (Elyse) Bennett on the pitch, different styles of forwards. So we are fully aware what do we need to do if it’s Bennett and what we need to do if it is Huitema, because it’s two different styles. I have a lot of respect of their team and also their coach, it’s a good coach, and a lot of players that also is going to the World Cup. So, it shows quality, it’s not just one player that can score.”
Kansas City has underperformed the expectations for a talented team. While they have struggled with injuries the Current should still have seen better results. The Current’s xG (expected goals) is 14.5, tied for third highest in the league, but they have only scored 10 total (9th) in league play. This comes despite having one of the best attackers in Brazilian star Debinha. The talented attacker leads Kansas City with four goals and Cece Kizer follows her with three. A trio of players have added a single goal.
The difference on the defensive end is more striking. They have a fourth best xGA (expected goals allowed) of 11.6 but have surrendered 18 goals, the third-worst in the league. The Current have squandered a run of home games, going 3-4-0 at home before an increasing fan base. Not getting any points out of four home games is disappointing for a team that had much higher expectations.
A long list of injuries, two come off the list but it is not all good news
Forward Kristen Hamilton is finally back to terrorize defenders and is working her way back to 90-minute fit.
The latest good news is Morgan Gautrat and Elizabeth Ball are back.
Sjöblom is happy to have these two in training, “Training has been high quality, the intensity has been good. The most positive thing is that Morgan Gautrat and Elizabeth Ball is back in the roster, back in the squad so it’s a lot of competition about the spots right now.”
“Both of them are experienced players,” Sjöblom added. “They bring a lot of communication to the practice, they give feedback to their teammates, but also the way that they lead with the ball and without the ball, the movement, and they raise the intensity, they want to have the ball, but overall it is the communication and how they communicate.”
Even with Gautrat and Ball perhaps seeing the field soon, it is not all good news. When the availability report came out, a new name was one it. Veteran midfielder and celebration queen Lo’eau LaBonta is now listed as out with a right knee injury. No word on how long LaBonta will be out.
Kansas City Current
Hanna Glas (D45 – knee)
Lo’eau LaBonta (R Knee),
Claire Lavogez (SEI – knee)
Alex Loera (foot)
Sam Mewis (SEI – knee)
Desiree Scott (D45 – knee)
Mallory Weber (SEI – knee)
Elizabeth Ball (hamstring)
Morgan Gautrat (calf)
Jess Fishlock (leg)
Rose Lavelle (leg)
Phoebe McClernon (D45 – back)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current attacker Kristen Hamilton – While still working her way back to fitness, Hamilton will run and attack and pressure the opponents into mistakes.
OL reign attacker Megan Rapinoe – Rapinoe may not be in her prime but she can still absolutely shred opponents. She is second in the league with four assists and the Current will have to be cautious and not allow her to much time.
Referee: Elijio Arreguin
Assistant Referees: Darren Bandy,
4th Official: Jaclyn Metz
VAR: Adorae Monroy
AVAR: Katherine McCormick