Match Preview: Kansas City Current continues to hunt for points with Saturday match at the Houston Dash Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current continues to hunt for points with Saturday match at the Houston Dash

The Kansas City Current (6-10-0, 18 pts.) head to familiar territory this weekend to take on the Houston Dash (4-5-7, 19 pts.) at Shell Energy Stadium in Houston Texas. The match is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT with Dave Borchardt and Jillian Carroll Letrinko calling the action for KC Current Radio, available on the KC Current App. Viewers can also tune in to Lisa Carlin and Jillian Loyden on Paramount+.

Kansas City comes into the match hunting for points as the club looks to climb the ladder and qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season. The team sits only six points back from playoff position with six games to play. Last week, the Current earned a valuable three points against OL Reign with a 1-0 home victory in front of the largest home crowd in club history, 13,455 fans. Forward Cece Kizer scored the game winner, redirecting a cross from defender Izzy Rodriguez to the back post with a beautiful header in the 61st minute. Goalkeeper AD Franch preserved the win with a stunning save on a penalty kick attempt in the 73rd minute. The usually reliable Jordyn Huitema lined up from the spot to try and equalize for the Reign, but a cold stare and a powerful dive to the right allowed Franch to make the save.

Houston sits two places in front of Kansas City in the standings, but only one point ahead. The Dash tied Washington 1-1 last week at home. The Spirit put on heavy pressure early in the match and dominated play through much of the first half. The Spirit jumped ahead in the 63rd minute when U.S. Women’s National Team player Ashley Sanchez hit a left foot shot that sailed past Houston’s goalkeeper Jane Campbell. The Dash began to increase the attack following Washington’s goal. Forwards María Sánchez and Ebony Salmon began to push Washington’s back line, looking for any opportunity to get on net. Finally, Sánchez was able to find the equalizer one minute into stoppage time and earn a point for the Dash.

Kansas City Current Defender Izzy Rodriguez –
Drafted to the Current in 2022, Rodriguez is a young talent that has shown great promise and has put together a superb sophomore season in the league. She is one of three players to have played in every match this season and has started at the left back position in the past six matches across all competitions. She scored her first two professional goals this season and provided the assist on forward Cece Kizer’s game-winning goal last week against OL Reign.

Houston Dash defender Caprice Dydasco – The nine-year veteran is in her second season with the Dash after coming over in a trade in 2022. Listed as a defender, she has the speed and skill to join the attack at any minute. She has featured for the Dash in every match this season.

The Current have played the Dash more than any other team in the NWSL, with the exception of 2021 expansion partner Racing Louisville. Kansas City owns the series edge with seven wins and a draw in 12 total games. This match will be the fourth time these teams have faced each other in 2023. The Current have two Challenge Cup wins, while the Dash were able to claim victory in the only other regular season match this year. However, Kansas City is undefeated in Houston after fighting to a draw on May 24, 2021, then winning the next four appearances in the stadium.   

Kansas City Current and Brazilian midfielder Debinha made her return to action last week, playing the full 90 minutes against OL Reign. The Current’s other two World Cup representatives Stine Ballisager Pedersen (Denmark) and Lauren (Brazil) are expected to make their on-field debuts over the next few matches.   

Danish defender Stine Ballisager Pedersen arrived in Kansas City this week. Ballisager is a world-class center back that could provide an immediate impact to Kansas City’s defense. While other players love to get the ball and score, Ballisager admits that she loves to defend, and fans can expect to see more of her sliding tackles than finishing passes.

A troubling issue at the beginning of the season, Kansas City’s defense has solidified of late. The club has only allowed three goals in the past six matches across all competitions, and none in the past 343 minutes of game play. The defensive supremacy has coincided with the return of defender Elizabeth Ball from injury and the dominant play of goalkeeper AD Franch.

This week Current goalkeeper AD Franch earned the Deloitte US Impact Save of the Week through fan voting on social media. This is Franch’s second Save of the Week win this season and her fourth since joining the Current in 2021. As Kansas City is hunting for a spot in the 2023 NWSL Playoffs, every point is vital. Franch made four saves against the OL Reign on August 18, but none more crucial than her save against Reign forward Jordyn Huitema in the 73rd minute. The Current’s 1-0 lead was in jeopardy as the visitors were awarded a penalty kick following VAR review. Staring down her opponent, Franch read the play and was able to make the game-clinching save with a strong dive to her right side. 



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