NWSL Matchday 4
Who: Kansas City Current (0-3-0, 0 pts) vs Orlando Pride (0-3-0, 0 pts)
When: Sunday, April 23rd at 4:00 p.m. CT
Where: Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City
Listen: KC Current Radio on the Kansas City Current app
Two teams looking for their first points in the 2023 NWSL regular season meet as the Kansas City Current (0-3-0, 0 pts) host the Orlando Pride (0-3-0, 0 pts). Both team did get results in the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup Wednesday with Orlando drawing 1-1 with North Carolina and the Current earning a 2-0 victory of the Houston Dash.
The Current are under new management after shockingly firing previous head coach Matt Potter on game day, just hours before playing their opening Challenge Cup match. The Current announced that assistant coach Caroline Sjöblom had been appointed Interim Head Coach. Sjöblom has experience playing internationally and various coaching stints but most notably as the head coach of Sweden’s U19 Women’s National Team.
With no time before leading the Current through the Challenge Cup victory and only a couple of practices before this match, Sjöblom has not had much time to change style or tactics to a great degree.
Injuries and more injuries
While Sjöblom has been limited by time, she is further limited by the number of tired and unavailable bodies. With ten players listed as unavailable and one questionable, the Current are limited in the number of ways to assemble a game-day squad.
In addition to long-term injuries like Sam Mewis, Hanna Glas, and Claire Lavogez, there are players with unknown timeframes like Desiree Scott, Kristen Hamilton, Elizabeth Ball, and Alex Loera. Add in Jenna Winebrenner on Covid protocol for this match as well.
One of the heartbreaking names on the list is Mallory Weber. After tearing her ACL in last season’s opener, she worked hard to get back into the roster and finally came off the bench in the last match and looked great until she went down with what appeared to be another knee injury. The Current have not given a status other than she is unavailable for this match.
With this being the third game in eight days in three different cities and with the added emotion of a coaching change it would be understandable there will be some tired players. With the number of unavailable players, Debinha and DiBernardo playing their first significant minutes may be called upon to play even more.
When asked about the players being tired, Sjöblom responded. “I think right now they need to be ready. Even if someone is tired and of course, they are gonna be tired. But we know Orlando is also going to be tired, but it’s going to be like a tactical game for 90 minutes because. Over time of course we need to use our subs and game changers, but the players need to run tomorrow.
“We gonna do the job, but of course, I’m fully aware of some players going to struggle in the end of the game,” Sjöblom added.
Kansas City Current
OUT: Elizabeth Ball (hamstring), Morgan Gautrat (calf), Hanna Glas (knee), Kristen Hamilton
(knee), Claire Lavogez (SEI – knee), Alex Loera (foot), Sam Mewis (SEI – knee), Desiree Scott
(knee), Mallory Weber (knee), Jenna Winebrenner (Covid protocol)
QUESTIONABLE: Mimmi Larsson (hamstring)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None
OUT: Kerry Abello (hip), Haley Bugeja (head), Julie Doyle (D45 – ankle), Celia (leg), Carrie
Lawrence (SEI – knee)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Amanda Allen (CAN)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current attacker Debinha – The Brazilian midfielder was injured during the She Believes Cup with Brazil and is working back into her normal form but played well last match before subbing of at the 70th minute. Debinha was the most coveted NWSL free agent in the off season and the Current expect her to contribute to the attack more and more as she works back into form.
Orlando Pride forward Marta – While the KC Current has added Brazilian star Debinha to its roster this season, the Pride have their own Brazilian legend in forward Marta. After missing the entire 2022 season due to injury, the Pride will be relying on the veteran forward for leadership and productivity in 2023. Originally joining Orlando in 2017, the 37-year-old veteran has played 75 regular season matches and scored 27 goals, all with the Pride.