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Unbeaten no more: KC Current lose first game of 2024



photo Credit: Thad Bell | KC Soccer Journal

In the biggest matchup of the 2024 season so far, the Kansas City hosted the Orlando Pride in a battle between two unbeaten teams. Identical in points (35) and goal differential (19), the Current edged the Pride in goals coming into this game (39 vs. 30). Only one team would remain unbeaten with a win, or the streak would continue with a draw for each team. The game certainly lived up to its hype as the two top teams in the NWSL faced off before the Olympic break.

Starting XI

The Current would continued their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Debinha moving to the number 9 spot as Bia Zaneratto suffered a broken bone in her foot last week that will sideline her for the next 6-8 weeks.

Lineup Photo: FotMob

First half: Banda vs. Chawinga

One of the big storylines for this game was the two top goal scorers in the league in this match: Orlando’s Barbra Banda and Kansas City’s Temwa Chawinga. Both with 11 goals before kickoff, & both with 12 goals by night’s end. It was Banda with the first goal of the night to give the visiting team the lead in the 37th minute.

The lead wouldn’t last as Chawinga took matters into her own hands as she took the ball from the midfield towards the Orlando final third, dribbling and zooming past Orlando players for a Kansas City equalizer in the 39th minute.

With the goal, Chawinga became the league’s top leading scorer with 12 goals and six assists.

Second half: Was that really a PK ref?

Momentum had shifted to Kansas City near the end of the second half. Orlando appeared to play a physical game, using fouls to stop the Current attack. The Pride entered the second half with 10 players after Carrie Lawrence earned her second yellow after a hard foul on Chawinga in the 42nd minute.

But in the 60th minute, a collision between goalkeeper AD Franch and Adriana inside the Current’s penalty area convinced the referee that a penalty needed to be awarded. Marta, who earlier in the first half was given a yellow card for arguing with the referee, converted the the PK and put the Pride ahead 2-1 in the 63rd minute.

The Current spent the majority of the second half trying to equalize, but even with 10 players, Orlando’s defense was too organized to hold off the Current’s attack, and Kansas City had difficulty breaking them down to build up anything for a goal. Orlando’s win gave the Current their first loss this season, ending a 17-game streak end.

NWSL Match Report
Match: Kansas City Current vs. Orlando Pride
Date: July 6, 2024
Venue: CPKC Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CT
Weather: 86 degrees, sunny
Attendance: 11,500

14’ Orlando – Lawrence (Yellow)
23’ Orlando – Marta (Yellow)
28’ Kansas City – Hutton (Yellow)
42’ Orlando – Lawrence (Second Yellow, Red)
47’ Kansas City – LaBonta (Yellow)
57’ Kansas City – Mace (Yellow)
61’ Kansas City – Franch (Yellow)

37’ Orlando – Banda
39’ Kansas City – Chawinga (Rodriguez)
63’ Orlando – Marta (PK)

Kansas City Current Lineup: Franch, Rodriguez, Ballisager, Ball (86’ Lauren), Mace, LaBonta ©, Hutton (71’ Wheeler), Debinha, Chawinga, Lavogez (57’ Feist), Cooper

Unused Substitutes: Steigleder, Glas, Scott, Hamilton, Silkowitz, Spaanstra

Orlando Pride Lineup: Moorhouse, Lawrence (RC 42’), Sams, Strom, Abello, Yates (45’ McCutcheon), Marta ©, Angelina (70’ Dyke), Adriana (70’ Watt), Doyle (44’ Souza), Banda
Unused Substitutes: Crone, Allen, Lemos, Martinez, Gautrat, Rafaelle

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First of all, thank you to various commenters who taught me that ION is available for free on Tubi. That worked great! The Current’s schedule so far has been almost comically at odds with my own and I’ve had very few chances to actually sit down and watch a game, until last night. So of course…

I would really like to see a better explanation of why that was a penalty. Both players went for the ball and I thought GKs got some benefit of the doubt in that scenario. But that being said, all credit to Orlando for a well-disciplined defensive effort.


For the penalty, I really don’t feel like Franch touched the ball, in which case she came in recklessly, and hit the player. I might be wrong, I haven’t gone back and looked at it, but based on the replay they showed on the broadcast, the penalty seemed pretty obvious to me.

Chad Smith

I’m with Dancey here. Franch misses the ball and gets Adriana.

It’s probably the right call. My only issue is this isn’t applied consistently, as KCOutsider says, some refs give the benefit to the keeper. I think this is the way to do it. Think of all the keepers who miss the ball but punch a player and it’s not called.

I’m frustrated with the Current’s inability to break down Orlando while up a woman. The endless balls into the box were ugly to watch. Lauren kept flicking them to no one or heading them out of bounds. Head them down into the box, chest them down to yourself, etc. It was tough to watch.

We’re calling it the media game curse. 0-2-1 according to Mikeapedia.


I completely agree with your frustration. if you asked me in the second half who was playing down a player, I’d probably guess the Current, not just cause of the score, but the way they were playing. They couldn’t string any possession together, they were booting balls way up the field instead of passing through the midfield. They were playing desperate, even before the penalty. Lauren seemed to be so close to being the spark Current needed, she got her head on a lot of dangerous balls, but every header she hit towards goal had little to no power on it, and landed right at the keeper. It’ll be interesting to see if she can improve on that skill, because if so, she’ll be a very dangerous player when they’re down a goal.


LOL, I was thinking during that second half that I was watching SKC again with all those aimless crosses.

wet water

But the ball was already out of play when the foul occurred. Why would it be a penalty in that case? Card for how late it was? Sure. Penalty? I’m not so sure. And it wasn’t like that was the only call that got me going. I was sure the ref was planning a make up red when they started giving every Current foul a yellow. Lo and Mace didn’t deserve yellow.And the final tally of 19 fouls to 10 did not at all match the eye test of the game, the fouling was not at all as one sided as the calls were. It was still 11 v 11 in the 2nd half, it was just that the 11th was the ref instead of a player.

…But I hate to complain about the ref because Orlando were very good and kind of deserved to win. Very impressed with them, our D looked sloppy, our midfield was getting run over. And it continued that way after the red until Orlando started bunkering after the goal. Only the individual brilliance of Chawinga stood out as a plus for KC.


Yeah, I have no real problem with a yellow, but a PK just seemed overly harsh given that it didn’t look much different to me than every time a keeper lunges into a pack of players on a corner trying to punch the ball away. It doesn’t feel consistent, as others have said. To flip it around, it tends to be understood that you can’t just run over a keeper going for the ball, and most players tend to back off in the last minute when a collision with a keeper looms because there’s that sort of unwritten rule that if anything means you’re more likely to be called for running into a keeper than the other way around. So it felt weird for only Franch to be called on that mutual collision when neither player backed down.

But it’s not why the Current lost, Orlando looked good enough to win and the Current did not.


It is interesting on the play, because the way Franch leapt for the ball with her arms extended seemed unnecessary. She was coming in at such speed that the Orlando player couldn’t switch the ball to her left foot and rocket it back into the box. All Franch needed to do was be in her way until she kicked the ball out, and then she should’ve backed off. It was at such an angle that Adriana couldn’t have shot it, so Franch didn’t need to be concerned about the ball ending up in the net. It’s just a weird play overall.


I just went back and watched it, and I think you’re right that the ball was out of bounds before the players made contact. I don’t understand why that didn’t go to VAR, it certainly seems close enough that it should have. I’m not tech savvy enough to frame by frame the video though, so maybe I could see an angle where the ball does remain in bounds when Franch hits the player. I do agree about the fould count, especially at halftime. I don’t remember the exact number, but in the first half it really didn’t feel like the Current fouled more than Orlando.


My main issue is that it shouldn’t have been a penalty at all. According to Laws of the Game article 12 introduction, a free kick or penalty cannot be given when ball is out of play. Which if you replay, I believe it is clearly out

Last edited 3 days ago by Brent

Credit to Orlando, they deserved to win. Here’s a couple of thoughts:

  • My opinion of Marta hasn’t changed. Unreal talent but her antics rub me the wrong way.
  • I thought the PK on Franch was harsh. The ball was already off Adrianna’s foot, so there was no chance of scoring. Franch looked to slow up, but it was clumsy nonetheless.
  • What is up with Debinha? She looked almost invisible. I thought she would be on a revenge tour after not making the Olympic roster. She’s been really down this year, and I love her. She was unstoppable last year at times. Not sure what happened.
  • Vlatko was out coached today. Our 2nd half strategy and subbing were very questionable.
  • Chawinga is still incredible
wet water

Debinha’s looked better in the midfield than when they have played her as a false 9. Hasn’t looked that good in a false 9, looked ok but not great next to DiBernardo, mostly the few games where she got to play in an attacking mid with Lo and Hutton behind her and Bia in front were the few where she looked good. Glad for this break because they really don’t seem to know what to do about CF with Bia out. The hold up play, the passing in tight spaces, they are really missed and it doesn’t seem like they have another player that can do that. Orlando knew it and said OK we’ll keep players back so that Chawinga can’t win on speed alone, make Chawinga dribble through 4 players if they want to score- and Chawinga still scored because she is amazing.


I have to agree with the Marta comments. Talented and a legend – no doubt. Her antics – ugh! I think she bullied the ref and thus the PK.
I didn’t understand why Franch got the call… I mean goalies get an advantage. I haven’t seen a call like that all season. Why not just a foul???
And I agree with all of you guys the aimless kicks and playing desperate. I don’t thought it was just me. ..
I do wonder if some of the reluctance / inaction seen from Debinah and Lauren is because of Marta???
Idk. Hate to think that way.
Pride defense was on. And we didn’t use our best attacking strategy. I hope we do learn from this loss.
Feels go to share… Thanks.


Ugh, even up a player KC was lobbing balls into the box like they’re Sporting KC.

Absolutely fruitless offense down the stretch unless Chawinga takes matters into her own hands.

PK call was soft


Also- just an fyi — the picture of #12 for Current Stine Ballisinger, not Pederson.

also, what do the numbers beside the player mean / indicate?


The source is under the photo, it’s a lineup provided by FotMob so any errors are on them not KCSJ. The number by each player is their rating for the match.

Last edited 5 days ago by Kat

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