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The KC Current Have a Golden Opportunity they Must Seize

The upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup presents a huge opportunity for the Kansas City Current. If they don’t capitalize, the season is over.



Credit: Thad Bell

2023 has been a rough season for Kansas City soccer. The Kansas City Current only just climbed out of dead last in the NWSL standings. Sporting Kansas City find themselves in 11th place in the MLS Western Conference standings.

Both teams were expected to be competitive (and they still may be). But it’s especially disappointing for the Current. They went to the NWSL Championship game in 2022 and added numerous quality players to their roster in the offseason and have fallen off a cliff and find themselves eight points out of the playoffs with just nine games to go in the regular season.

But an opportunity looms. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Players have left for their respective nations after last weekend’s games. Every team is impacted, and the KC Current are no different, but they only lost a single* player: Debinha.

*Desiree Scott is on Canada’s roster but hasn’t played a minute in NWSL this year as she recovers from a surgery.

Now, she may be the best player in the entire league, so it’s definitely a loss, but they are built to deal with this break. They will play two more league games before a stretch of NWSL Challenge Cup games follows. The two league games are against the first place Portland Thorns and eighth place Racing Louisville.

Look how brutally hard they were impacted:


  • Adriana Leon (Canada)
  • Christine Sinclair (Canada)
  • Hina Sugita (Japan)
  • Raquel Rodriquez (Costa Rica)
  • Sophia Smith (USWNT)
  • Crystal Dunn (USWNT)


  • Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa, provisional)
  • Uchenna Kanu (Nigeria)
  • Alex Chidiac (Australia)
  • Savannah DeMelo (USWNT)

Kansas City has to win these two games. They aren’t going to catch Portland, but they are important points. And Louisville are one of the 10 teams ahead of the Current that they must pass.

Beyond the games ahead of the World Cup, teams will almost certainly be impacted on the tail end of things. The WWC Final is on August 20th. Even though only two teams advance to that (and two more to the third-place game on the 19th), it’s likely players won’t be ready to go right away upon their return.

NWSL league play resumes for Kansas City on August 18th and I’d imagine that game will be impacted. It’s possible the game after that could have players missing too (not to mention injuries that will surely happen). KC play the OL Reign (3rd) on the 18th and the Houston Dash (7th) on the 26th. Let’s look at their rosters and how they are impacted.


  • Jordyn Huitema (Canada, provisional)
  • Sofia Huerta (USWNT)
  • Alana Cook (USWNT)
  • Emily Sonnett (USWNT)
  • Megan Rapinoe (USWNT)
  • Rose Lavelle (USWNT)


  • Michelle Alozie (Nigeria)
  • Sophie Schmidt (Canada)
  • Nichelle Prince (Canada)
  • Allysha Chapman (Canada)

It could be argued the KC Current injury report is worse than some of these rosters’ international call-ups impact things, and I won’t dismiss that out of hand. However, Kansas City are used to playing without their injured players. They’ve had time to adjust. There is a hope the other teams will be reeling.

Plus, they now have back important players on the team like Elizabeth Ball, Vanessa Dibernardo, Morgan Gautrat and Kristen Hamilton. Not to mention all the talented players who haven’t missed time with injury.

What About the Loss of Debinha?

It can’t be understated how good Debinha is. However, sometimes there is an overreliance on a superstar and her being out of the lineup could actually make the team better (I just started Keeping Current which touches on this too). They have plenty of talent all over the pitch to fill in adequately (or far more than adequate in most cases). Also, while it’s improved in recent weeks, Debinha was a turnover machine that was actually breaking the KC attack at times.


The KC Current must win these upcoming games where other teams are impacted by the FIFA Women’s World Cup (and they should take a serious run at the Challenge Cup too which also has teams impacted). If they settle for a draw or two, the playoffs are probably out of reach. However, if they make it in, no one will want to play them because they’ll be the hottest team in the league. Last year they were the fifth seed and made the finals. They just need to get in!

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