Match Preview: Kansas City Current aims to extend franchise-best unbeaten streak against Washington Spirit Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current aims to extend franchise-best unbeaten streak against Washington Spirit

The Kansas City Current (3-4-3, 12 points) remains on the road this weekend to play the Washington Spirit (1-4-6, 9 points) for the first time in the 2022 campaign. The match kicks off Sunday, July 10 at 4 p.m. CT and will be broadcast locally on KMCI, 38 the Spot and stream nationally on Paramount+. 

Last time out, head coach Matt Potter’s Current extended its unbeaten run to a club-best five matches in a 2-1 road victory over the Houston Dash on July 1. The Current found the net on each side of the halftime break, with midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta converting a penalty kick in the 43rd minute and Hailie Mace scoring the match-winning goal off a Cece Kizer assist in the 46th minute. The win marked Kansas City’s first-ever regular season road win in NWSL regular season play. 

The Washington Spirit fell 2-1 on the road against the San Diego Wave on July 3. Without seven United States Women’s National Team players due to the ongoing CONCACAF W Championship, the Spirit fell behind 2-0 in the first half and was unable to make up the difference. Midfielder Jordan Baggett scored Washington’s lone goal of the contest, a headed finish in the third minute of second half stoppage time.

INSIDE THE STREAK
With Sunday’s match marking the official halfway point of the 2022 NWSL regular season, the Kansas City Current have nearly eclipsed last season’s point total of 16. 

The Current’s torrid start to the 2022 campaign has been boosted by the team’s ongoing five-match unbeaten streak, in which Kansas City has found positive results in a multitude of ways. Strong defensive performances have anchored recent shutout victories over Racing Louisville and NJ/NY Gotham, while the goalscoring prowess of forward Kristen Hamilton has helped the Current secure draws against the Wave and the Chicago Red Stars. 

Kansas City has trailed for a total of just 10 minutes over its last five matches, which all came in the buildup to Kizer’s equalizing goal against the Red Stars on June 18. Most impressively, the unbeaten streak has catapulted the Current right into the mix for a potential spot in the NWSL playoffs. 

FANTASTIC FRANCH
Current goalkeeper AD Franch had another stellar performance against Houston on Friday night.

The Salina, Kansas native made five saves against Houston to extend her total in the 2022 regular season to 37, which ranks second in the NWSL. Franch made a variety of impressive stops to keep Houston at bay in both halves, but the best of the bunch came in a thrilling double-save sequence in the 88th minute. A deflected cross from the left wing forced Franch backwards to make a diving stop, which she parried just outside of the goal box. The ball fell to Dash midfielder Emily Ogle, then Franch dove forward to deny Ogle’s second-chance effort. 

Franch also eclipsed 350 career saves in her decorated NWSL career against the Dash.

WATCH PARTY
The Kansas City Current Watch Party Series with Boulevard Brewing Co. continues for Sunday’s match against Washington. The official KC Current Watch Party hosted by KC Crew will be at Johnny’s Tavern in Power and Light starting at 3 p.m. CT. 

The Teal Mobile will be on-site selling the latest merchandise, and the event will feature drink/food specials and giveaways at halftime and full-time. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current defender Hailie Mace — Mace has been stellar over Kansas City’s last three matches but had her best performance last Friday. Mace was dangerous all evening down the wings, though she helped set up her goal from a central position. She picked up the ball in the opening seconds of the second half about 35 yards from the goal and found Kizer on the right wing, then made a trailing run awaiting Kizer’s pass. From there, Mace calmly slotted the ball home at the penalty spot to double the Current’s lead. Mace will look to continue her good run of form against the Spirit following her first goal of the regular season.

Washington Spirit forward Tara McKeown — The former USC Trojan and No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NWSL College Draft made her first appearance of the 2022 regular season last weekend against San Diego. McKeown played the entirety of the second half and looked threatening, assisting on the Spirit’s only goal of the match and recording a shot on goal. McKeown had a productive rookie season in 2021, playing in 23 matches and starting 13. The Newbury Park, California native scored one goal, recorded 15 key passes and had two assists in her rookie campaign.

MATCH INFO 
Washington Spirit vs. Kansas City Current 
Sunday, July 10 at 4 p.m. CT 
Segra Field – Leesburg, Virginia
Broadcast on KMCI 38 The Spot 
Radio on Sports Radio 810 WHB
Stream on Paramount+

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