Amid Franchise-Best Unbeaten Streak, Kansas City Current Taking Things One Match at a Time  Kansas City Current

Amid Franchise-Best Unbeaten Streak, Kansas City Current Taking Things One Match at a Time

Through five matches in the 2022 NWSL Regular Season, the Kansas City Current were experiencing a myriad of peaks and valleys.  

The highs were plentiful; Kansas City reached the semifinals of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup after dominating the Central Division. The Current fell 2-1 to the North Carolina Courage in the semifinal round, but the run marked an impressive start to the club’s second season.  

Unfortunately, a combination of a congested schedule and key players in health and safety protocols hindered the Current as the regular season began. The Current were shutout in their first two regular season matches, then conceded the game-tying goal in the waning minutes of a 2-2 draw with the Orlando Pride. A shorthanded Kansas City squad then lost consecutive 1-0 road decisions to Angel City FC and OL Reign, results that dropped the Current’s record to 0-4-1 on May 25.  

Head coach Matt Potter’s squad has not lost since. 

Kansas City’s historic turnaround has taken the club to new heights, reestablishing the club’s impressive Challenge Cup form. Over its last seven matches, Kansas City has earned 17 points while ascending to a franchise-best 5th place in the NWSL table. The club’s point total of 18 is a franchise record and the Current’s ongoing seven match unbeaten streak is a franchise record.  

A four-game homestand kickstarted the Current’s ongoing streak, which started with a 1-0 win over Racing Louisville FC on May 30. Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta provided the contest’s lone goal with a penalty kick in the 3rd minute and Kansas City’s defense allowed just one shot on target. The streak-opening win over Louisville set a precedent that has held true across the last two months for the Current. Kansas City has conceded just five goals over its last seven matches, which is tied for the lowest mark in the NWSL, while recording four shutout victories.  

Goalkeeper Adrianna ‘AD’ Franch has earned three of the four shutouts and has arguably been one of the team’s best players over the last seven matches. Franch, the Week Ten Budweiser NWSL Player of the Week and a two-time recipient of the NWSL Save of the Week, enters Sunday’s match against the Orlando Pride with 44 saves. Her most impressive performance during Kansas City’s run came in the team’s 1-0 road victory over the Washington Spirit on July 10, where Franch saved a penalty kick in second half stoppage time to seal a Current victory. The win marked back-to-back road victories for the first time in franchise history.  

Franch’s spectacular season has come in front of a stout Current back line. In addition to conceding just five goals over the last seven matches, Kansas City has an ongoing shutout streak that spans over the last 180 minutes of play. The last goal the Current conceded was an own goal in the 90+10 minute against the Houston Dash on July 1. An opponent hasn’t scored against Kansas City since Chicago forward Mallory Pugh converted a penalty kick in the 58th minute of a match that ended in a 2-2 draw. 

Multiple players have stepped up to lead the team offensively. LaBonta has three penalty kick goals during the run, and she’s tied with forward Kristen Hamilton for the most goals over Kansas City’s last seven games. The biggest jolt to the Current’s offensive production came in the middle of the run, as the team acquired forward CeCe Kizer in a trade with Racing Louisville FC on June 9. The Current also received defender Addisyn Merrick in the move. Kizer has scored twice and provided one assist through her first five matches with Kansas City, including the game-winning goal in Kansas City’s 1-0 win over Washington. 
 
With plenty of soccer remaining for the Current in the 2022 regular season, the team is taking things game-by-game as the meat of the regular season approaches.  

“For us, as players, we’ve never, ever [talked about the unbeaten streak] as a group to each other, it’s always one game at a time,” said LaBonta after the Current’s 1-0 win over OL Reign on July 17. “Obviously it feels great, we’ve jumped in the standings, but as a team we take it week-by-week, game-by-game.” 

The Current's historic run has placed them right in the mix for a first-ever appearance in the NWSL playoffs. If Kansas City can continue notching positive results through a combination of timely offense and stellar goalkeeping play, a playoff appearance might just be the floor for what the Current can accomplish in 2022.  

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