Match Preview: Kansas City Current continues  homestand against NJ/NY Gotham FC Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current continues homestand against NJ/NY Gotham FC

The Kansas City Current host NJ/NY Gotham FC in Kansas City for the first time in 2022 on Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed nationally on Paramount+ while Dave Borchardt and Lori Lindsey will broadcast the match locally on KMCI, 38 The Spot.
 
Playing the third of four straight home games, the Current come into the match with a two-game unbeaten streak. Last week Kansas City battled to a 2-2 draw against the first-place San Diego Wave. Forwards Elyse Bennett and Kristen Hamilton each scored for the Current. 

Gotham also played last Saturday, a 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit. The win marked Gotham’s second consecutive 1-0 victory. Forward Midge Purce provided the contest’s lone goal, her second of the regular season, in the 21st minute. Notably, Gotham enters Saturday’s match having played just five regular season games, tied for the fewest in the NWSL.  

ROSTER MOVES
The Kansas City Current added a little home-flair to the roster this week via a trade with Racing Louisville. In exchange for $150,000 in allocation funds, the Current received forward Cece Kizer and defender Addisyn Merrick. Both players are originally from the metro area, with Kizer hailing from Overland Park, KS and Merrick from Lee’s Summit, MO. 

Kizer was selected by Racing Louisville in the 2021 Expansion Draft. She scored the first goal in Louisville’s history in the team’s 2021 Challenge Cup debut April 10. She led the team in games started (22) and was second in goals scored (5) and minutes played (1,889). She comes to Kansas City with two assists in seven games played so far this season.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 NWSL Draft by the North Carolina Courage, Merrick appeared in seven matches for the Courage in the 2020 Challenge Cup and Fall Series. Merrick was the first player selected by Racing Louisville in the 2020 Expansion Draft but missed much of the season due to an injury. Making a strong comeback, the young defender has started two matches for Racing Louisville in 2022.

SET PIECE SUCCESS 
Kansas City’s offensive showing against San Diego was thanks in large part to an emphasis on creating chances from corner kicks. The Current recorded 10 corner kicks against the Wave, the highest single-game total in all competitions for the team and turned many of them into threatening scoring opportunities.  

The most significant opportunities resulted Kansas City’s two goals. In the 11th minute, midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta worked a give-and-go with fellow midfielder Victoria Pickett on a short corner kick, then LaBonta clipped in a ball from the endline that found the head of Hamilton. Her header found the side netting amid a sea of Wave defenders to open the scoring.  

In the 63rd minute, Kansas City found success through a similar corner kick sequence. Defenders Hailie Mace and Alex Loera exchanged passes, with the latter sending the ball into the penalty box from the wing. The ball fell perfectly to Bennett, who slid in to score Kansas City’s second goal of the contest. 

The Current enter Saturday’s match ranked third in the NWSL in total corner kicks with 40, so frequent corner kick opportunities could remain a significant part of Kansas City’s offensive attack throughout the regular season.  

ALL SQUARE 
Kansas City faced Gotham twice in 2021, with both matches ending in 1-1 draws. The Current levelled the teams’ first meeting at Red Bull Arena on July 2, a match that began after a three-hour weather delay, with a spectacular goal in the 83rd minute. In the return fixture at Legends Field on October 22, defender Kristen Edmonds recorded Kansas City’s lone goal via penalty kick in the 45th minute. 

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER 
FunkAway, the extreme odor eliminator of the Kansas City Current, is the presenting sponsor of Saturday night’s match against Gotham FC. The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City will have several adoptable dogs available for fans to meet on Mazuma Plaza ahead of kick off. Please note that fans are not permitted to bring their pets to this match.

The Current are also teaming up with FunkAway to sponsor an equipment drive ahead of Saturday’s game, with all proceeds benefiting Youth R.I.S.E. Kansas City.   

To participate, bring new or gently used soccer balls, cleats or indoor soccer balls to Children’s Mercy Park. Youth R.I.S.E., a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources and opportunity to reach at-risk youth within the Kansas City community through soccer, will receive all equipment donated. For more information about the organization, visit www.youthrisekc.com.  

PLAYERS TO WATCH 
Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton — Hamilton, Kansas City’s goalscoring leader in all competitions in 2022, notched her second goal of the regular season against San Diego. Her efforts are key in sparking the Current’s offense, as Kansas City’s highest-scoring outputs of the regular season have come in games that featured her finding the back of the net. Hamilton previously went on a torrid scoring run in the 2022 Challenge Cup with five total goals and will look to score in consecutive matches for the first time in the regular season on Saturday.  

NJ/NY Gotham FC midfielder Kristie Mewis — Mewis is a critical piece of Gotham FC’s midfield, starting in all five of the team’s regular season games. So far in the regular season, Mewis has displayed her distribution ability with an assist, 13 key passes and six successful crosses. In addition, Mewis has one regular-season goal, scored in Gotham FC’s 3-0 win over Orlando on May 1. She is the sister of Kansas City Current midfielder Sam Mewis, and the two were members of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s bronze medal squad in the 2020 Tokyo Women’s Olympic Tournament last summer. 

MATCH INFO 
Kansas City Current vs. NJ/NY Gotham 
Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. CT 
Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kansas 
Broadcast on KMCI 38 The Spot 
Radio on Sports Radio 810 WHB 
Stream on Paramount+ 

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