Match Preview: Kansas City Current host league-leading San Diego Wave in clubs’ inaugural meeting Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current host league-leading San Diego Wave in clubs’ inaugural meeting

For the first time, the Kansas City Current welcomes the San Diego Wave to Children’s Mercy Park Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. CT. KCMI, 38 The Spot will broadcast Saturday night’s match locally and Paramount+ will provide a national stream.

Kansas City enters Saturday’s match fresh off its first clean sheet of the 2022 NWSL regular season, a 1-0 win over Racing Louisville Monday, May 30 at Children’s Mercy Park. A third-minute penalty kick from Current midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta proved decisive as Kansas City’s defense stifled Louisville all afternoon. The third minute penalty kick was the fastest in NWSL regular season history. Kansas City also welcomed back several players and head coach Matt Potter from COVID-19 protocol in Monday’s match. The win marked the Current’s first of the regular season.

San Diego, in its last contest, dropped a 1-0 road decision to OL Reign. A 75th minute header from Reign midfielder Rose Lavelle was the difference as the Wave lost just its second contest of the regular season. San Diego sits on top of the NWSL table entering Saturday’s match with 12 points and a record of 4-2-0.

GETTING DEFENSIVE 
Kansas City’s recent performances have been anchored by strong performances from its back line and goalkeeper AD Franch, the NWSL regular season saves leader with 27 saves through six matches.

The Current have conceded just two goals over its last three matches, one each in 1-0 losses to Angel City and OL Reign. More impressively, Kansas City’s opponents over that stretch all reside in the top five of the NWSL standings.

Aside from Franch’s heroics, defenders Elizabeth Ball and Jenna Winebrenner have played a significant role in locking up Kansas City’s recent opponents. Winebrenner, a rookie and Kansas City native, has played 90 minutes in back-to-back matches and made crucial interventions against both OL Reign and Racing Louisville.

Ball has logged even more action, totaling 263 minutes over Kansas City’s last three matches. So far this season, Ball has recorded 19 clearances, nine blocks and 15 interceptions. Winebrenner, meanwhile, has totaled 20 clearances, four blocks and eight interceptions in an impressive rookie campaign. The duo has formed a solid partnership at the heart of the Current’s defense and look to continue their run of solid play heading into a crucial month for Kansas City.

ABOUT THE WAVE 
The Wave’s hot start has been thanks to its defense, which has conceded just three times through six games. San Diego goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan ranks fifth in the NWSL with 18 saves and defenders Naomi Girma, Kaleigh Riehl and Christen Westphal anchor a sturdy backline that has catapulted the expansion side to the top of the NWSL standings.

Off the field, former United States Women’s National Team head coach and two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Jill Ellis is San Diego’s team president. Casey Stoney, an English National Team veteran from 2000-2017 and former manager for Manchester United Women and NJ/NY Gotham, was named the first manager in Wave history ahead of the 2022 season.

PRIDE NIGHT 
The Kansas City Current are celebrating Pride Night during Saturday night’s match against San Diego. The Currents’ jerseys for Saturday’s contest will feature special pride numbers. Fans can get involved in the celebration as well by purchasing a “Pride Pack,” which include tickets for the match and a Kansas City Current pride-themed fanny pack. A portion of Pride Pack purchases will benefit nonprofit organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the Kansas City area.

Following Saturday’s match, Kansas City is home for two more matches in the month of June. More information on ticketing for Saturday’s Pride Night and subsequent home matches can be found here.

PLAYERS TO WATCH 
Kansas City Current midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta — LaBonta made her return from COVID-19 protocol in a big way Monday, notching her 100th regular season appearance and scoring the lone goal of Kansas City’s 1-0 win over Louisville. Midfielder Victoria Pickett was taken down inside the penalty box in the third minute. LaBonta then stepped up to the spot and blasted the ball to the top-left corner of the goal. LaBonta’s game-winning goal marked her second in all competitions in 2022.

San Diego Wave forward Alex Morgan — Leading the way for San Diego’s fast start is forward Alex Morgan. Her six goals through six matches lead the NWSL. The U.S. Women’s National Team star has scored all but two of the Wave’s regular season goals and scored an impressive four goals against NJ/NY Gotham May 7.

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