Match Preview: Kansas City Current continues West Coast swing against OL Reign Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current continues West Coast swing against OL Reign

Kansas City squares off against OL Reign at Lumen Field on Wednesday, May 25 for a 9:00 p.m. CT kickoff, concluding its three-game road trip. KMCI, 38 The Spot will broadcast Wednesday’s match locally, with Paramount+ streaming nationally.

Kansas City is in search of its first win of the 2022 NWSL regular season after a hard-fought 1-0 road loss to Angel City FC on Saturday night. A shorthanded Current squad nearly took the lead in the ninth minute through a free kick from midfielder Alex Loera, but Angel City goalkeeper Didi Haracic made an acrobatic save, denying the rookie. The Current withstood Angel City’s pressure for most of the match with the help of goalkeeper AD Franch making multiple saves, but an own goal gave the hosts a 1-0 victory.

OL Reign, meanwhile, drew with the Washington Spirit 0-0 on Sunday afternoon. The Reign had 20 shots to Washington’s seven but were unable to breach the Spirit’s back line. The result marked OL Reign’s third draw in four regular season matches.

SIMILAR SQUADS
Kansas City and OL Reign are similarly aligned ahead of Wednesday’s crucial matchup.

Both teams enjoyed success in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. OL Reign won the West Division with a tournament-best 14 points through the group stage. In the semifinals, OL Reign matched up with the Washington Spirit, and the teams played to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes. The Spirit advanced to the finals after winning a penalty kick shootout 9-8.

The Current won the Central Division in the Challenge Cup with 13 points, and advanced to the semifinals of the competition. Kansas City also played a tight semifinal but fell 2-1 to the eventual champion, the North Carolina Courage.

Neither squad has picked up a win in the 2022 NWSL regular season. Wednesday’s match presents a crucial opportunity for Kansas City to regain its Challenge Cup form with a massive three points.

BEST IN NET
Wednesday’s match features two of the best goalkeepers in the NWSL – Kansas City’s Franch and OL Reign’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce.

Tullis-Joyce, a first-year starter, had an impressive Challenge Cup campaign in which she recorded 24 saves and two clean sheets in seven matches played. She has continued that form in the regular season, leading the NWSL with 21 saves and recording two shutouts. While Tullis-Joyce is a new face to the league, she boasts plenty of experience from her collegiate days at Miami (FL) and her time spent at Stade de Reims in France.

Franch has cemented herself as one of the league’s best goalkeepers through her lengthy professional career. The Salina, Kansas native reached 10,000 minutes played in the NWSL on May 8 and enters Wednesday’s match with 18 saves, good for third best in the NWSL.

EXECUTIVE UPDATE
The Kansas City Current announced Allison Howard as the club’s first ever President on Tuesday. She will oversee all business operations reporting directly to ownership.

Howard joins the club after a ten-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. She spent the last five years serving as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, where she was instrumental in closing the Lakers’ most successful partnerships and led the organization’s corporate sponsorship strategy that surpassed $250 million in revenue. 

Howard begins her role with the team immediately as the club continues its 2022 NWSL regular season campaign.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current midfielder Victoria Pickett
— Pickett, a second-year player and integral piece of Kansas City’s midfield, played the full 90 minutes for the first time in the regular season on Saturday night against Angel City. Pickett has appeared in all four of Kansas City’s matches and has completed 80% of her passes while recording five key passes. She’s no stranger to scoring against OL Reign, scoring a goal in the 73rd minute of a meeting between the two sides in August 2021 that gave Kansas City its first win in franchise history.

OL Reign midfielder Jessica Fishlock — Fishlock added another accolade to an impressive playing career in 2021, as she won the 2021 NWSL Most Valuable Player award for the first time in her career. She had an impressive campaign, with 1,180 minutes played, five goals and four assists in the 2021 regular season. She competed defensively too, as she won 63% of her tackles and provided 13 clearances. This season, Fishlock played in seven Challenge Cup matches and recorded an assist, four key passes and eight interceptions. She has yet to record a goal or assist in the 2022 NWSL regular season.

MATCH INFO
OL Reign vs Kansas City Current
Wednesday, May 25 at 9:00 p.m. CT
Lumen Field – Seattle, Wash.
Broadcast on KMCI 38 The Spot
Radio on Sports Radio 810 WHB
Stream on Paramount+

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