Match Preview: Kansas City Current looks to extend winning streak as team travels to face Angel City FC Sunday  Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current looks to extend winning streak as team travels to face Angel City FC Sunday

The Kansas City Current (2-3-0, 6pts.) go back on the road this weekend as the team travels to Los Angeles to face Angel City FC (1-2-2, 5pts.) Sunday at 7 p.m. CT. Coverage begins locally at 6:30 p.m. CT on KMCI 38 the Spot with Lisa Roman, Aly Trost Martin and Jordan Angeli calling all the action. Nationally, the game will stream live on Paramount+ with JP Dellacamera and Lori Lindsey on the call.

Kansas City will be looking to continue a streak that has seen the team win three straight games across all competitions, with 2-0 victories over the Houston Dash (UKG Challenge Cup), Orlando Pride and NJ/NY Gotham (Regular Season). Sunday, the Current had several strong chances early in the game, only to be thwarted by Gotham’s goalkeeper at the last minute. Midfielder Debinha finally broke the stalemate in the 57th minute, running on to a lobbed pass over the backline from midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta. Four minutes later, Debinha struck again, this time jumping on a loose ball inside the penalty box.

Angel City comes into this match on a four-game winless streak, counting the team’s scoreless draw against OL Reign in the UKG Challenge Cup Wednesday night. The last regular season match for Angel City saw the team draw the Portland Thorns 3-3. The back-and-forth match had the visiting Angel City take the lead in the tenth minute on a goal from Alyssa Thompson. The Thorns came back to take a 2-1 lead with goals on either side of the halftime break, followed by two more goals from Angel City to retake the lead in the 74th and 79th minute. Then, deep into added time, the Portland Thorns pushed their entire team towards goal, including goalkeeper Bella Bixby, looking for an equalizer. As the ball scrambled into the box Bixby became only the second goalkeeper in NWSL history to score a goal with a back-heel shot into the net.  

Kansas City Current midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta – One of only four players to start every match for Kansas City this season, LaBonta has anchored the team’s midfield and earned her first assist of the season last week against Gotham. Growing up about 45 miles east of BMO Stadium, LaBonta will get the chance to play in front of her childhood hometown for the first time in her professional career. In 2022, the inaugural season for Angel City, LaBonta missed the team’s trip to Los Angeles due to COVID protocol.

Angel City midfielder Julie Ertz – Ertz returns to the NWSL after missing most of 2021 and all the 2022 season. Ertz joined the league in 2014 after being drafted with the third overall pick in that year’s NWSL Draft. She has played in the last two games for her new club and tallied her first goal last weekend against the Portland Thorns. As she gets back into match form, Ertz hopes to regain her roster position on the U.S. Women’s National Team ahead of the 2023 FIFA World Cup. Ertz has 118 appearances and 20 goals on the international stage.

The Current’s recent run of form is due in large part to its young defensive back line. Rookies Gabrielle Robinson and Croix Soto, along with fourth-year player Addisyn Merrick have started the past three matches, including the two regular season matches and the April 19 Challenge Cup opener at Houston. The average age of KC’s back three is 23 years old, compared to 32 years old for the NWSL-leading Portland Thorns and 29 years old for the Houston Dash, who have the league’s leading defense with only three goals conceded on the season.

The key to the group’s success has been communication and trust, as all three players have attested to in interviews. That allows each player to take risks, either trying to intercept an opponent’s attacking threat or jumping into the offense in an attempt to score. Each player has the confidence in the others to be able to cover for any mistakes and contribute to stopping any dangerous attacks.

The Current are on a three-game winning streak across all competitions, and two straight regular season wins. This club is no stranger to streaks though. After starting the 2022 season winless in six games, the team rattled off 13 straight undefeated to propel themselves into the NWSL Championship match. This season, the team found itself on the wrong end of the first three contests before getting right on the past three.

Kansas City’s defense is on a streak of its own. The team has not allowed a score for 203 minutes of regular season game action, only two minutes shy of the club’s record. Goalkeeper Cassie Miller was in goal for all three of the team’s recent clean sheets. This is the second time she has three straight shutouts across all competitions. With Chicago she didn’t allow a goal for the final game of the 2021 reg season and the first two playoff games. In front of the goal, defender Kate Del Fava continues to extend her club record for consecutive starts. She now has 26 across all competitions and 22 regular season consecutive starts.

This match is the first to be broadcast locally in Kansas City thanks to a partnership between the Current and KSHB 41 and KMCI, 38 the Spot. As the Official Television Partner of the club, KMCI 38 The Spot will broadcast seven matches this season, complete with a 30-minute pregame show, KC Current Matchday. This week’s broadcast will feature Lisa Roman anchoring pregame and halftime coverage, then Aly Trost Martin and Jordan Angeli will be on the call for the match. As is the case for every match this season, an audio stream of every game will be available to fans through the Kansas City Current app, available on Apple and Android devices.

Kansas City’s recent success has not gone unnoticed across the league. Along with climbing the table and the ‘Power Rankings’ charts at various media outlets, midfielder Debinha was named the Week 5 Player of the Week, presented by Bud Light for her performance against NJ/NY Gotham where she scored the club’s first-ever brace and the seventh time she has scored multiple goals in a single match. The veteran midfielder was also named to the March/April Best XI, presented by Mastercard. In the first few weeks of the league season she has scored a league-best four goals and has been a critical piece of Kansas City’s successes.



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