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Preview: KC Current at Portland Thorns

Kansas City needs points but more injuries will not make it easy



Kizer scoring on Portland | Credit: Thad Bell

NWSL Matchday 14

Who:  Kansas City Current (4-9-0, 12 pts) at Portland Thorns (7-2-4, 25 pts)

When: Saturday, July 1st, 2023 at 9:00 p.m. CT

Where: Providence Park| Portland

Watch:  Paramount+, CBS Sports Network

Listen: KC Current Radio on the Kansas City Current app

The Kansas City Current (4-9-0, 12 pts.) are back on the road Saturday evening to face the Portland Thorns (7-2-4, 25 pts). This is the second meeting for these two teams this season. The eleventh-place Current lost their previous encounter with first-place Portland when Sophia Smith racked up a hat trick in Kansas City en route to a 4-1 victory.

Kansas City has struggled this season but appears to be slowly rounding in to form. The Current have three wins in their last five matches. One of those three wins was a 4-0 drubbing of Chicago in the Challenge Cup. More recently, the Current are fresh off of a 2-1 win in Orlando. Goals by Debinha and Cece Kizer gave the Current the lead at halftime and the Pride pulled one back on a penalty in the second half.

“I think the way we ended the game, with the attitude, the sacrifice the players made in the second half, we learned how to manage a tough game when we feel a lot of pressure. Of course, you learn stuff with our buildup in the first half and how good we can play. But for me, it is the mental part that we won the game, even if we were so tired and needed to make changes late in the game,” Interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom told the KC Soccer Journal.

With a good result in Orlando, Sjöblom wants the team, “ To keep feeling confident” against Portland. “We’re getting close to the style of play that we want to play, we want to have more possession, we want to dictate the game more, and that is what we are going to practice this week. I think that Portland is a perfect opponent for that because it’s a team that also wants to play so I think it’s going to be a good game.”

Sjöblom added, “I want to continue this journey that we are on with the confidence of the style of play and score more goals and also be really tight with not conceding goals.”

When asked about the opponent, Sjöblom replied, “I think Portland are so confident with the style of play and regardless if it’s a World Cup player away, or it’s game changer they start instead, I think it’s going to be the typical Portland. So for us, it’s going to be a really tough game regardless.”

The Current need points to have a hope of making the playoffs and despite the injuries, now is the time to do it.


Kansas City Current

Vanessa DiBernardo (concussion)

Hanna Glas (D45 – knee)

Lo’eau LaBonta (knee),

Mimmi Larsson (excused absence)

Claire Lavogez (SEI – knee)

Sam Mewis (SEI – knee)

Mallory Weber (SEI – knee)


Alex Loera (foot)

Hailie Mace (shoulder)

Jordan Silkowitz (hand)



Debinha (BRA)

Desiree Scott (CAN)


Portland Thorns

Janine Beckie (SEI – knee)

Rocky Rodriguez (knee)

Becky Sauerbrunn (heel)




Crystal Dunn (USA)

Christine Sinclair (CAN)

Sophia Smith (USA)

Hina Sugita (JPN)

Note: With so many players out or on International Duty, the Portland Thorns signed defender Kayla Morrison as a National Team Replacement player.



Kansas City Current attacker Cece Kizer – With Debinha at the World Cup, Kizer will be counted on to lead the scoring punch. Kizer already has four goals for the season.

Portland Thorn attacker Morgan Weaver – The Thorns will be missing four of their top five goal scorers on the season due to International Duty. Weaver is third on Portland for goals this season with four and will be a primary target with all of the call-ups.



Referee: Tori Penso
Assistant Referees: Brooke Mayo,
John Krill
4th Official: Christopher Calderon
VAR: Shawn Tehini
AVAR: Kaili Terry

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