Match Preview: Kansas City Current heads to California for first road test of the season against the San Diego Wave  Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current heads to California for first road test of the season against the San Diego Wave

The Kansas City Current hit the road for match week two of the 2024 NWSL regular season. The Current head to Snapdragon Stadium to face the San Diego Wave Saturday, March 23 at 9 p.m. CT. Kansas City fans can watch the match on ION Television or KMCI 38 the Spot with Maura Sheridan and Jordan Angeli on the call. Fans can also tune in to KC Current Radio on 90.9 The Bridge FM or the KC Current app to hear Dave Borchardt and Doug McLagan call the action.

Kansas City opened the season last week in historic fashion. In addition to opening CPKC Stadium, the first in the world purpose-built for women’s professional soccer, the team scored five goals in back-to-back home games (dating back to 2023) for only the fourth time in NWSL history. In addition, with her score in the 68th minute, forward Alex Pfeiffer became the youngest player in NWSL history to score a regular season goal.

Saturday’s match also serves as the regular season debut for the Wave. As the winners of the 2023 NWSL Shield, San Diego earned the right to play in the 2024 Challenge Cup last week against the winner of the 2023 NWSL Championship, NJ/NY Gotham FC. While the game seesawed back and forth, forward Alex Morgan was able to get her head on a cross in the final minutes to score the only goal of the match and bring home the win for the Wave.  

Kansas City split the season series with San Diego in 2023 with each team winning 2-0 victories on the road. The Current lead the all-time series however, 2-1-1.

Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton – The veteran Hamilton could play a pivotal role in Kansas City’s attack on Saturday, especially with the absence of Debinha due to injury. Entering the match midway through the first half on Saturday, Hamilton scored a goal and delivered the cross that led to another. She is a valuable leader and the team’s all-time leading scorer across all competitions.

San Diego Wave midfielder Savannah McCaskill – McCaskill is one of seven new players to join the Wave this offseason. A free agent from Angel City, she anchors a talented midfield that will look to control the tempo throughout the match.

When Vlatko Andonovski took over the Current, he made it clear that he wanted to put together a roster that was built to win, while still setting up the club for future successes. Veteran Lo’eau LaBonta led the team onto the field Saturday, followed by goalkeeper AD Franch and a handful of other veterans who each played up to the historical moment.

However, the starting lineup also featured two players making their professional debut in midfielder Claire Hutton and Ellie Wheeler. Fellow rookie Alex Pfeiffer also entered the match to start the second half.

“It felt like I was in FIFA (video game) for a second,” remarked Hutton when talking about her first thoughts upon entering the stadium.

However, the awe quickly faded away as the game began. She settled into her midfield role and helped to set the tempo and create the pressure-based attack that saw the Current jump out to a 3-1 lead in the first half.

Wheeler started at the right back position and was tasked with holding off some of the most potent scorers in the league. Not only did she step up to the task, but she also provided valuable help on the offensive side of the ball. In the 25th minute, she followed up on a cross that the Portland defense tried unsuccessfully to clear. With the calm of a seasoned veteran, she hit a one-time shot straight to the back of the net.

“I saw the ball bounce in the box and I realized I was gonna get there,” Wheeler said. “My brain was going crazy, but at the same time, I’m telling myself to be calm and just put it in the back of the net.”

Not to be outdone, at only 16 years old, Pfeiffer replaced forward Bia Zaneratto to start the second half. Already known in international circles, helping the U.S. Youth teams win the Concacaf W tournament at the U15 and U17 levels, the St. Louis native made her professional debut as the youngest player ever to hit the pitch for the Current.

In the 68th minute, she trailed the play as forward Temwa Chawinga chested a ball out of the air into the perfect position for Pfeiffer to run on direct her shot to the right corner for what ended up being the winning goal. Although young, she knew exactly what to do after becoming the youngest player to ever score a NWSL regular season goal.

“I like myself a good knee slide,” said Pfeiffer. “It was my first goal so I thought I might as well. But yeah, it was a really cool moment.”



Link copied to clipboard!

Back to Top