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The KC Current return to CPKC Stadium and win 1-0, remaining unbeaten

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Photo: Thad Bell - KC Soccer Journal

After three games on the road, the Kansas City Current returned to CPKC Stadium to host the North Carolina Courage in the first matchup between the two teams this season. Coming off a win and two draws on the road, and where in Seattle, the Current were held scoreless, a first in 2024, a return home was necessary.

The Starting XI

With the third game in a week, that Starting XI looked a little different with three usual starters back to the lineup: Hailie Mace, Lo’eau LaBonta, and Debinha. Stine Ballisager earned her second start at center back.

First half: Not a dull moment despite 0-0

The North Carolina Courage are one of the top teams in the NWSL, and though their record coming into this game was 4-4-1, they are a dangerous team with players like Ashley Sanchez, Denise O’Sullivan, and Tyler Lussi. And early on it was Sanchez with the first look and shot on target for the Courage in the 3rd minute. Thirteen minutes in, both teams continued to battle and press forward. KC forward Temwa Chawinga looked for ways to break through the organized North Caroline defense, including taking the ball to the final third, breaking through two defenders for a shot right on goal that goalkeeper Casey Murphy saved.

Chawinga had two additional close calls for a goal, with a breakaway in the 36th and in the 46th. Debinha also had a shot that went wide. Kansas City were the more dominant team in terms of shots, with nine shots, eight on target at the end of the first half, but North Carolina maintained possession (55%-45%). The Courage also double-teamed Chawinga whenever she had the ball, and pushed her to the outside, away from goal. No one from the Current appeared to be in the box for her to make a significant cross to result in anything.

At halftime, the score stood 0-0, but this match had not been dull at all as both teams found ways to challenge each other.

Second half: One goal was plenty

The second half slowed down, but only for seven minutes because Kansas City found the back of the net to take the lead. It would be teamwork by Kansas City’s Claire Hutton and Chawinga with passes between the two. Chawinga made the final run on the outside and took it in for a shot on goal, but it was saved by goalkeeper Casey Murphy. The stop only cleared the ball away from the line. Murphy’s clear sent the loose ball near the backpost where Debinha was waiting, unmarked, and put it in for the goal, her first of the season.

One goal would be enough for the Kansas City Current to remain unbeaten and are once again at the #1 spot, with the Orlando Pride at the #2 spot, the only other team unbeaten and with 21 points as well. Goal differential as the difference maker between the two teams.

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