The Kansas City Current (3-1-1, 10 pts.) played to a 0-0 draw with the Chicago Red Stars (0-4-1, 1pt.) at SeatGeek Stadium tonight. This is the first draw for Kansas City in 24 matches across all competitions, one short of the NWSL record set by Chicago in 2020. Kansas City now sits second in the Central Division table.
“It was a really tough game tonight with two teams that really wanted to win the game,” said interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom. “I think we had the first half and I think they had the second half. So, I think a tie is objectively good enough right now, and for me I’m proud of the defensive work that we did at the end of the game.”
Coming from a 3-1 win last week over the Houston Dash, Kansas City began the game with an aggressive press against Chicago in an effort to control the match up front. With a strong buildup moving through the Current’s starters, Kansas City was intent on being patient and breaking down the Red Stars defense as the players searched for the right scoring opportunity.
In the 23rd minute, the Current surged toward the goal with a cross from forward Mimmi Larsson. As Chicago defender Kayla Sharples slid in to block the shot, the ball struck off her hand, earning Kansas City a penalty kick. In her first start since suffering an injury several weeks ago, midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta set up at the penalty spot. The veteran booted the ball low to the right corner of the net, but Chicago goalkeeper Emily Boyd saved it, pushing the ball outward to bounce off the inner post and away from danger.
Chicago responded with a quick counterattack in the 30th minute, taking a tight angle shot snatched by AD Franch in goal. Keeping their momentum, the Red Stars took another opportunity in the box, but center back Elizabeth Ball blocked it to shut down their offense.
Both teams were looking for their breakthrough goal, but it was Kansas City who dominated the first half, taking nine shots, with four on target. Waiting to spring a shot past Boyd, Larsson found forward Kristen Hamilton with a breakthrough pass. Hamilton scored last week off a one-touch shot and tried the same with a flick towards goal against Chicago. This time Boyd was able to get a fingertip on the shot and keep it out of the back of the net.
In the second half, the Current took on a more defensive role as the Red Stars flipped the script and became the aggressive attackers in the defensive third of the field.
In the 68th minute, Chicago crept through the Current back line with a lofty pass. Chicago forward Sarah Griffith launched a quick shot at Franch, who ran up to challenge her. With a strong block, Franch went to the ground to clock one of her three saves of the night. Confident on the back line, Franch was a force in aerial duels throughout the match, grabbing them out of the air at every opportunity.
Kansas City chopped down Chicago’s offense one save at a time with breakaway-stopping tackles from defenders Ball, Gabriel Robinson, Izzy Rodriguez and Kate Del Fava along with a strong performance by Franch in goal. Two players from each team logged yellow cards in the second half of the match, as attackers from both ends of the pitch were making powerful moves.
While the matchup ended in a scoreless draw for the teams, the Kansas City Current stays in a favorable position going into the final week of group play. Returning home to Children’s Mercy Park to finish off the group stage of the tournament, The team will face Racing Louisville August 5 at 7 p.m. CT.
The Current sits in second place on the Central Division table, two points behind next week’s opponent. A win would secure the Central Division for Kansas City for the second straight season. Any other result could still give the Current a place in the semifinals as the best second place team in the tournament, depending on other results across the league.
Kansas City’s homestand will continue with the return to regular season play against OL Reign August 18 at 7 p.m. CT. Single match tickets are available for all remaining home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. For pricing and information, visit kansascitycurrent.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs Kansas City Current
Date: July 29, 2023
Venue: Seatgeek Stadium, Bridgeview, Illinois
Kickoff: 7:08 p.m. PT / 9:08 p.m. CT
Weather: 79 degrees, sunny
15’ KC – Rodriguez (Yellow)
73’ KC – Winebrenner (Yellow)
75’ CHI – St. Georges (Yellow)
83’ KC – Childers (Yellow)
90’ CHI – Bike (Yellow)
Chicago Red Stars Lineup: Boyd, Sharples, Davidson ©, Malham, Krueger, Roccaro, St-Georges (81’ Bike), Nagasato, Cook (70’ Schlegel), Bianchi, Hocking (62’ Griffith)
Unused Substitutes: Dossey, Feller, Kowalski, McCain, Jones, Aguilera
Kansas City Current Lineup: Franch, Rodriguez, Robinson, Ball, Del Fava, LaBonta (46’ Childers), Loera (64’ Winebrenner), Kizer (64’ Mace), Spaanstra, Hamilton ©, Larsson (77’ Merrick)
Unused Substitutes: Curran, Silkowitz, Soto, Miller