Kansas City Current makes history with inaugural victory at CPKC Stadium Kansas City Current

Kansas City Current makes history with inaugural victory at CPKC Stadium

The Kansas City Current defeated the Portland Thorns, 5-4, to open the NWSL regular season in historic fashion. In front of a sold out CPKC Stadium, Vanessa DiBernardo scored the first goal in the first stadium purpose-built for a women’s professional team in the world. Five different players scored for the Current, including first goals for two of the team’s rookies.

“I am happy for the three points but I’m so much more excited for the stadium, the atmosphere, and the moment,” said Head Coach Vlatko Andonovoski. “This is the beginning of the change. This is going to forever change women’s soccer.”

It’s only fitting that a historic moment saw a high-scoring and thrilling affair along the Missouri River. The Current started its aggressive scoring in the 22nd minute as Debinha took advantage of a mistake by the Portland defense and found DiBernardo to tap home in the empty net. Only two minutes later, rookie Ellie Wheeler took a straight shot in transition at the top of the box for her first professional goal. With the score Wheeler became the 400th player to score a goal in the history of the NWSL.

Brazilian forward Bia Zaneratto scored her first goal in a KC Current uniform after DiBernardo added an assist to her tally for the day. Shortly after that goalkeeper AD Franch made an incredible save off her outstretched fingers in the 41st minute to keep the Current ahead 3-0.

The Thorns tallied the first goal for the visitors in the 43rd minute, sending the teams into the halftime break with Kansas City holding a 3-1 lead.

Into the second half, the Current came out hot to the deafening roar of 11,500 loyal fans. Lo’eau LaBonta collected the ball in her end of the field in the 64th minute and sent a long pass halfway down the field to forward Temwa Chawinga who collided with the goalkeeper as she tried to score, but not far behind was Kristen Hamilton with the tag-team goal, making it 4-1 KC Current.

Rookie Alex Pfeiffer became the youngest regular season goal-scorer in league history at 16 years and 4 months, which also makes her the youngest in KC Current history, giving the home side a 5-1 lead in the 68th minute. Moments later Hamilton connected on a cross to Chawinga who chested the cross down to meet Pfeiffer in stride at the top of the box, where she was aptly able to drive it home.

Portland did not go quietly adding three goals but in the end the Current prevail by a final of 5-4 in a historic match that will be remembered for generations to come.

Looking back at the day and reflecting on the opening of CPKC Stadium, LaBonta said, “I hope that when young girls see this stadium and think that when they get to this age, it’s going to be equal pay, they’re going to have their own locker room, their own stadium. That’s the goal.”

NWSL Match Report
Match: Kansas City Current vs. Portland Thorns 
Date: March 16, 2024
Venue: CPKC Stadium, Kansas City, MO   
Kickoff: 12:02 p.m. CT
Weather: 62 degrees, sunny 
Attendance: 11,500

83’ Portland – Sugita (Yellow)
85’ Portland – Hubly (Yellow)

22’ Kansas City – DiBernardo (Debinha) 
25’ Kansas City – Ellie Wheeler
34’ Kansas City – Bia Zaneratto (DiBernardo)
42’ Portland – Smith (Fleming)
64’ Kansas City – Hamilton
68’ Kansas City – Pfeiffer (Chawinga)
74’ Portland – Beckie (Obaze)
90’+1 Portland – Beckie (Muller)

Scoring Summary





Kansas City








Kansas City Current Lineup: Mace, Wheeler, Ball, Zaneratto (46’ Pfeiffer), LaBonta(c), Hutton, DiBernardo (63’ Chawinga), Franch, Robinson, Spaanstra (64’ Lavogez), Debinha (32’ Hamilton, 88’ Ballisager)
Unused Substitutes: Steigleder, Rodriguez, Feist, Silkowitz

Portland Thorns Lineup: Hogan, Muller, Obaze, Hubly, Payne (75’ Reyes), Moultrie (62’ Sugita), Coffey (75’ Wade-Katoa), Fleming, Weaver, Sinclair(c) (46’ Beckie), Smith (72’ D’Aquila)
Unused Substitutes: Kozal, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg, Sheva



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