Courtesy of the Kansas City Current
The Kansas City Current were victorious in the club’s return to the regular season after UKG NWSL Challenge Cup play. After a back-and-forth start to the match, the Current found its rhythm, culminating in a second-half goal from forward Cece Kizer to log the win. A pivotal moment in the match was also at the hands of goalkeeper AD Franch, who saved a penalty kick to preserve the shutout.
“It was a fantastic performance today from the players on the field,” said interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom. “We said before the game that we are right now hunting points to playoffs. The players showed it tonight with their heart, the way they played and how they followed the gameplay tonight.”
The team effort was on display tonight, with Kansas City attempting 513 passes throughout the match, the club’s highest total in a match this season. The Current also controlled the majority of possession with 56% and outshooting the Reign 13-8.
The visitors had the first opportunity of the match, with forward Bethany Balcer gaining possession in the midfield and slotting the pass wide to forward Elyse Bennett. Bennett hit the shot with her first touch from the top of the box, but Franch leapt up to push the ball over the bar.
The action was back and forth to start the match, with the Current’s first chance coming just five minutes later. Midfielder Alex Loera placed a pass to the corner of the penalty box, where Kate Del Fava ran on to launch a shot at the far post. Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce dove to her right to push the ball wide of goal.
In the 39th minute, Loera jumped on a clearance from the Reign backline and hit a shot from the edge of the attacking third, again forcing a diving save from Tullis-Joyce to keep the match scoreless.
The Current had one more chance to finish out the half. Loera launched a perfectly placed pass to find forward Michelle Cooper on the edge of the penalty area. The rookie backheeled the ball into the box to find Kate Del Fava charging toward goal, but her left-footed shot was grabbed by Tullis-Joyce.
Kansas City broke the stalemate in the 61st minute. Defender Izzy Rodriguez drew in the Reign defense off a throw in before launching a curling ball toward the back post. Kizer’s run was perfectly timed to beat the Reign defense and find the header for the goal.
Fifteen minutes later, OL Reign had a chance to tie it up. Jordyn Huitema stepped up to the penalty spot after a foul was called in the box. The forward slid the ball low and to the left, but Franch was there to make an easy save and keep the lead for the Current.
The Current also set a new attendance record tonight with a crowd of 13,455 fans, the third time the club has done so this season. The team has now gone 343 minutes since conceding a goal and have scored in the team’s last seven matches. Tonight was also a milestone night for midfielder Lo LaBonta, who became the first player to log 50 games across all competitions with the Current. She also passed 5,000 minutes played with the club, the first player to do so.
The Current travels to Houston to face the Dash on August 26, before returning home to play Angel City FC on September 1. The next home match is KC Kicks Cancer 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: Kansas City Current vs. OL Reign
Date: August 18, 2024
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS
Kickoff: 7:07 p.m. CT/ 5:07 p.m. PT
Weather: 85 degrees, sunny
49’ Seattle – McClerndon (Yellow)
73’ Kansas City – Franch (Yellow)
73’ Seattle – Quinn (Yellow)
90+11’ Kansas City – LaBonta (Yellow)
61’ Kansas City – Kizer (Rodriguez)
Kansas City Current Lineup: Franch, Rodriguez, Robinson, Ball, Del Fava, Loera, LaBonta, Mace (76’ Larsson), Debinha, Cooper (90+8’ Curran), Hamilton © (55’ Kizer)
Unused Substitutes: Miller, Childers, Winebrenner, Soto, Merrick, Spaanstra
OL Reign Lineup: Tullis-Joyce, Barnes ©, Holmes, Hiatt, McClerndon (82’ Brown), Van der Jagt, Quinn (89’ Stanton), King (82’ Malonson), Balcer (46’ Huitema), Latsko (89’ Angelina), Bennett (82’ Athens)
Unused Substitutes: Ivory, Dickey, Canales