The Kansas City Current defeated the Chicago Red Stars in a massive 6-3 victory in front of a record-breaking crowd of 15,671 for the team’s final match at Children’s Mercy Park, before moving into the new KC Current Stadium in 2024. The 6-3 win featured six different goal scorers for the Current, also setting a record for the most goals scored in a single match in club history.
“I just want to take this opportunity to thank the fans,” said interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom. “When we have been down and when we have been up it has been fantastic to feel the support from Kansas City. We thought this was going to be a very tough game against Chicago, but we also knew that they were hunting for the playoffs, so maybe they were a bit nervous and felt the pressure. I said to the players go out there and be relaxed, be calm on the ball, move the ball quick from side to side and when we did that, Chicago got very tired and that’s why I think we were able to score so many goals today.”
The Current kicked off the action early when defender Izzy Rodriguez settled a ball in the box. Surrounded by six defenders, Rodriguez set a quick give-and-go with Debinha before smashing a shot toward the far post for the first goal in the 14th minute.
Chicago equalized in the 20th minute. A corner kick from Yuki Nagasato bounced around the box, finally falling to the feet of defender Kayla Sharples, who tapped it past a diving goalkeeper AD Franch.
It only took two minutes for Kansas City to find the lead again. Forward Kristen Hamilton passed the ball in the box to find several players rushing toward goal. Rookie Alexa Spaanstra coolly tapped the ball behind her to perfectly set up midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta, who slipped the ball in past Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
In the 44th minute, the Current found the back of the net again, with Spaanstra creating her own opportunity. The rookie dribbled down the left side of the pitch, beating two Red Stars defenders before cutting inside and launching a shot toward the far post for her first career goal.
The Current’s lead shrank just before halftime, when a pass back from the Kansas City defense was misplayed and slipped past Franch into goal. However, the Current came out on the front foot in the second half.
In the 52nd minute, midfielder Alex Loera perfectly lobbed a ball over the Red Stars defense to find midfielder Debinha charging toward goal. The Brazilian sent Naeher the wrong way and slipped the ball into the back of the net for the Current’s fourth goal of the night.
The Red Stars narrowed the gap in the 63rd minute. Defender Tatumn Milazzo dribbled up the left-hand side, before cutting the ball in to find several Chicago attackers rushing toward goal. The Current came up huge with a block off the goal line by Rodriguez, but Chicago defender Bianca St-Georges jumped on the rebound and tapped the ball in to score.
The goals held off until stoppage time, when forward Michelle Cooper set up Cece Kizer for her sixth goal of the season. The rookie charged through the center of the pitch, drawing in defenders and opening space for Kizer on the right. Kizer patiently took a touch before burying her shot past Naeher at the far post.
The Current still had more in the tank deep into the match. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Loera launched another ball over the back line, this time intended for teammate Mimmi Larsson. The Swedish forward beat three defenders before hitting her shot past Naeher for her second goal of the year, and Loera’s second assist of the night.
The Kansas City Current has broken the club’s attendance record four times just this season. In club history, it took 24 matches for the Current to have a crowd over 10,000 (August 19, 2022 against Angel City FC). In the 18 games since that match, the club attendance has averaged 10,239 fans.
“That’s a team dub right there,” said LaBonta when addressing fans after the match. “That’s what I’m talking about. We would not be where we are without you guys, you are the root of this team, you guys are always going to be here, players will come in and out, but we are here for you guys.”
With this win, the Kansas City Current officially eliminate the Chicago Red Stars from the 2023 NWSL playoffs. The Current has one more match in the 2023 regular season on the road against NJ/NY Gotham FC next Sunday with kickoff scheduled for 4pm CT. Current fans are invited to join the club’s official watch party, presented by Boulevard Brewing Company, at The Blue Line (529 Walnut St, Kansas City, MO 64106).
An extremely limited number of season tickets remain for the 2024 season in the new KC Current Stadium. For more information, visit kansascitycurrent.com/seasontickets.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Kansas City Current vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: October 7, 2023
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS
Kickoff: 7:07 p.m. CT
Weather: 56 degrees, sunny
38’ Chicago – Nagasato (Yellow)
81’ Chicago – St-Georges (Yellow)
90+6’ Chicago – Sharples (Yellow)
14’ Kansas City – Rodriguez (Debinha)
20’ Chicago – Sharples (Nagasato)
22’ Kansas City – LaBonta (Spaanstra)
44’ Kansas City – Spaanstra (Rodriguez)
45+1’ Chicago – Own Goal (Ballisager)
52’ Kansas City – Debinha (Loera)
63’ Chicago – St-Georges
90+2’ Kansas City – Kizer (Cooper)
90+6’ Kansas City – Larsson (Loera)
Kansas City Current Lineup: Franch, Rodriguez, Ballisager, Ball, Del Fava, Debinha (81’ Larsson), LaBonta, Loera, Spaanstra (90+2’ Curran), Hamilton © (67’ Kizer), Cooper
Unused Substitutes: Miller, Winebrenner, Robinson, Merrick, Lauren, Lavogez
Chicago Red Stars Lineup: Naeher ©, Aguilera (45’ Malham), Wright, Sharples, Milazzo, Bianchi, Roccaro (73’ Schlegel), Hocking (64’ Matthews), Nagasato, St-Georges, Stevens (45’ Cook)
Unused Substitutes: Boyd, Fisher, McCain, Bike, Kowalski