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Teal Out! Seattle Reign at KC Current match preview

Following an international break, can the Current rediscover their goal scoring ways as they welcome Seattle to town–the only team to have shut them out.

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Credit: Thad Bell

You know a team is doing well when one weekend off feels like too long. The Kansas City Current are undefeated through the season’s first 11 matches (undefeated in 13-straight if you go back to the end of last season), 42 percent of the way through the regular season.

They are not in first place only because the Orlando Pride are having a historic start to the season as well and are on an eight-match winning streak. If both teams maintain their current trajectories, the July 6 meeting in KC will be huge! Not to be forgotten, the Washington Spirit will have something to say about the final standings as they sit just a single point behind KC.

Another sign that a team is doing well? Watching the USWNT match and wondering aloud who would have the edge if the national team squared off against the Current. I’m sure, in the end, Emma Hayes and her crew would earn the W, but it would be competitive.

The national team was in action because this was a small international break that saw seven KC players join national team squads: Claire Hutton (U.S. U20), Desiree Scott (Canada), Sophie Braun (Argentina), Debinha (Brazil), Nichelle Prince (Canada), Hanna Glas (Sweden), and Stine Ballisager (Denmark).

There are some interesting things to note in this group. First of all, Debinha scored the match-winning goal in Tuesday’s game against Jamaica. Hutton started last Friday’s U-20 match for the US in a win against South Korea. Scott, who hasn’t featured much for KC this season, saw action in one game for Canada (Prince dressed but didn’t see the field). Braun, who has yet to debut for the Current, played every minute in two matches (both wins) for Argentina. Stine Ballisager played 180 minutes against world #1 Spain (both losses), the reigning World Cup champions.

Glas didn’t see action for Sweden, but just the fact that she was called into camp is significant as she’s yet to play for Kansas City. Likely the misfortune that saw a roster spot just open up with Gabby Robinson’s season-ending injury will see Glas removed from the SEI list and perhaps get into a game.

As much as fans may not have been excited about a two-week break from NWSL action, this time off likely benefits the team. Not only had the prior month included a lot of games and travel (and weather delays), but the break will allow someone like Bia more time to return to full match fitness.

Additionally, all five of the Current’s matches in May included some amounts of frustration. Most obviously, their game against Racing Louisville felt as close to a loss as a draw can with the tying goal being scored in the 103rd minute. But in the other four matches, the team scored a total of three goals–this despite taking 93 shots. That’s a conversion rate of three percent (not good).

This contrasts so dramatically the team’s first six matches of the season in which they notched 20(!) goals. Certainly, Bia’s absence has played a part in these struggles, but hopefully the mini-break will help the team get back to their goal-scoring ways.

Those four matches of offensive futility included a trip to Seattle, the only game this season in which the Current were shutout. A big part of that was the standout play of the Reign’s keeper, Laurel Ivory, but Kansas City’s attackers also missed some good chances (an unfortunate pattern of late).

Looking at the standings suggests this weekend’s game could be a comfortable win for KC as Seattle sits in the unusual position of the penultimate place with just two wins and seven points (and a -9 goal differential) on the season. But much of this would have been true a few weeks ago when these teams played to a 0-0 draw. Will KC being home this time around make a difference? Statistics would suggest yes, as 18 of the team’s 26 goals this season have been scored in front of the fans at CPKC Stadium.

One last note on goal scoring: the last time out, Kansas City set an NWSL record by having their 15th different goal scorer, and they did it in less than half of the season. Chances are they’re not done as the smart money would have Hutton, Mace, Prince, etc. getting at least one as well.

It is interesting to note that the last two scorers for the team were both center backs as Ball and Robinson found the net (the last three scorers if you count Stine Ballisager’s own goal…). While that diversity is impressive, it seems important that the team’s attacking players get back on the scorer’s sheet. Can Chawinga, Bia, Debinha, DiBernardo, etc. rediscover the form that made the team truly unstoppable early on?

Sunday’s match closes the book on the season series with Seattle. The trip northwest in early May likely left the Current feeling like they had unfinished business. As they welcome Harvey, Huerta, Fishlock and their teammates to town, a sea of teal will be excited to chant for more goals. [Editor: Wear your teal, it’s a Teal Out!]

WHEN: Sunday, June 9 at 5:00 PM (Central Time)

WHERE: CPKC Stadium, Kansas City, MO

HOW TO WATCH: 38 The Spot/NWSL+

Record:

KC Current: 7-4-0 (25 points, 2nd place)

Seattle Reign: 2-1-8 (7 points, 13th place)

Last Match:

KC Current: 1-0 win away to Utah Royals

Seattle Reign: 2-3 defeat on the road to Washington Spirit

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Kat

… are there not match threads for the Current anymore? They came out HOT to start the second half.

I certainly do understand if there is not enough engagement to make those posts, especially if it would just be me talking to myself like I have been for days about TST in the other thread.

ar_jhawk

Sorry, I’m just not on as much on the weekends. I was bummed at half and then two minutes later they were at their marauding best. I get to see them in person next week. Can’t wait.

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