The Kansas City Current (3-8-0, 9 pts) fell on the road against OL Reign (6-4-1, 19 pts) in a 2-1 loss. Defender Izzy Rodriguez scored in stoppage time to halve the deficit, but Kansas City was unable to find an equalizer.
“I think that we deserve more than the result today, but goals change the game,” said interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom. “We are going to have a quick review about this game but then we are going to move forward to Chicago. The performance at the end of the game shows how much this team wants to win games and how much we can fight.”
The Current started the game with a defensive strategy, holding up to a barrage of attacking play from OL Reign. In the 10th minute, goalkeeper Cassie Miller came far off her line to challenge Reign forward Elyse Bennett for the ball. She rose up over the forward to head it away over the sideline.
The tides turned for Kansas City in the 16th minute. Debinha stepped up to a free kick about halfway between the penalty box and midfield. Her ball fell perfectly to the penalty spot, where forward Cece Kizer tapped it toward goal. Defender Gabrielle Robinson rushed forward to try and put the finishing touch on it, but Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce launched off her line to deny the goal.
In the 31st minute, the Current created one of the team’s best chances of the match. While under high pressure from the Reign defense, Debinha poked the ball back to find midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo on the outside of the penalty box. The veteran hit a screamer from distance to try and find her first goal of the season, but Tullis-Joyce leapt at the last second to push the ball over the crossbar.
With only 10 minutes to go before halftime, OL Reign was awarded a penalty kick after the referee called a handball against one Kansas City’s defenders inside the penalty box. Forward Sophia Huerta stepped up to the spot. Miller was able to get a hand on it, but unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line and putting OL Reign ahead.
In one of the biggest plays of the night, defender Croix Soto prevented the Reign from doubling their lead. In the 52nd minute, Bennett charged past the Kansas City defense and once again Miller raced off her line to attempt to stop the breakaway. This time Bennett’s shot slipped past her. Soto raced back toward goal and cleared the shot away just inches before it crossed the goal line.
Kansas City did find the back of the net in the 59th minute, though the goal was subsequently overturned by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). A loose ball bouncing around the box after a corner kick found rookie Michelle Cooper, who entered the match at halftime. Her shot skipped past the Reign defense and off the post to find the back of the net. However, after review, an earlier pass to spark the play was determined to be offside.
The home team found their second goal 10 minutes later. Huerta found herself with space on the right side. The forward loped a cross in toward the near post to find the head of Riegn forward Jordyn Huitema, who directed the ball past Miller and into goal.
Izzy Rodriguez scored her second goal of the year in the 90th+1 minute to put Kansas City on the board. Forward Mimmi Larsson slid a perfectly placed cross in to find Rodriguez charging toward the center of the goal. The defender clipped the ball off the side of her left foot to direct it into the far corner of the net.
One highlight for the Current was the return of Elizabeth Ball and the debut of Morgan Gautrat in the 81st minute. Ball sustained an injury in the Current’s first match of the year, while Gautrat logged her first minutes of 2023 in tonight’s game. Both of these veterans look to bring a level of experience to a young Kansas City Current squad.
The Kansas City Current continues a busy week, with the second of three games in eight days on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park. The Current takes on the Chicago Red Stars in NWSL UKG Challenge Cup play, before hosting the Washington Spirit in regular season play on Sunday, June 18 for Heart Health Awareness Night, presented by Saint Luke’s Health System. Tickets are available for all home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. For pricing and information, visit kansascitycurrent.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: OL Reign vs. Kansas City Current
Date: June 10, 2023
Venue: Lumen Field, Seattle, WA
Kickoff: 7:08 p.m. PT / 9:08 p.m. CT
Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy
16’ OL Reign – Sonnett (Yellow)
19’ OL Reign – Cook (Yellow)
90+5’ Kansas City – Debinha (Yellow)
36’ OL Reign – Huerta (Penalty)
68’ OL Reign – Huitema (Huerta)
90+1’ Kansas City – Rodriguez (Larsson)
OL Reign Lineup: Tullis-Joyce, Barnes (c), Hiatt, Cook, Huerta, Sonnett, Van der Jagt (62’ Quinn), Huitema, Rapinoe (7’ Latsko), Bennett (62’ Balcer), King (83’ Stanton)
Unused Substitutes: Dickey, Angelina, Canales, Brown, Holmes
Kansas City Current Lineup: Miller, Robinson, Soto, Merrick (81’ Ball), Mace, Curran (46’ Cooper), DiBernardo, Del Fava (81’ Gautrat), Debinha, Hamilton (c) (63’ Rodriguez), Kizer (73’ Larsson)
Unused Substitutes: Franch, Childers, Winebrenner, Spaanstra