Match Preview: Kansas City Current play for league record against Houston Dash at CPKC Stadium Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current play for league record against Houston Dash at CPKC Stadium

The Kansas City Current (9-0-5, 32 pts., 1st place) will make a triumphant return home to host the Houston Dash (3-6-5, 14 pts., 12th place) at CPKC Stadium Friday, June 28 at 7 p.m. CT. The match will stream on Prime Video. Fans can also tune in to 90.9 The Bridge FM to hear Dave Borchardt and Jillian Carroll Letrinko call the action. The radio broadcast will also stream on the KC Current app, along with Spanish and Portuguese language broadcasts.

Kansas City have added another historic moment to an already memorable season after breaking the club’s single season record with the 14th straight game unbeaten to start the 2024 campaign. Now the club is aiming for the all-time NWSL record. Dating back to the 2023 season, the Current have tied the record with 16 games unbeaten, needing only one more positive result to set the all-time mark.

In the last match, the Current and Portland Thorns kicked off the contest in a back-and-forth battle that appeared destined for a halftime scoreless draw. However, the NWSL’s highest scoring team only needed 10 minutes to completely change the narrative. The Current took a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute from a finish that passed from the head of forward Temwa Chawinga to midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta, the latter defying physics in her position to redirect the header into goal.

Only eight minutes later, defender Stine Ballisager Pedersen squared up on a loose ball in the box to shoot close range right into the top netting for her first Kansas City goal, and in the process became the 17th different Current player to score this season.

LaBonta rounded out the half with the team’s third goal and her first career brace. Midfielder Claire Hutton started the play by bringing the ball around top of the box and taking a shot. Her strong take on goal was blocked and bounced back seemingly out of danger. However, Kansas City’s captain jumped on the ball and hit a rope to the top corner of the goal that was in the netting before Portland’s goalkeeper had barely a chance to react.

Kansas City continued the scoring in the second half. In the 47th minute Chawinga dribbled through an onslaught of Thorns, breaking free unscathed to sneak in a near-post goal. The Malawian forward was set up on her run by a clearance pass from defender Elizabeth Ball that landed right at her feet. This was Ball’s second assist in the match and her first ever multi-assist game. Determined not to leave Providence Park scoreless, Portland mobilized for a 74th minute goal via forward Sophia Smith during a fast break, leaving the final score 4-1. 

The Houston Dash heads into Friday after a scoreless draw at home against the San Diego Wave. Following a 3-0 victory over North Carolina in late May, the Dash have gone scoreless in the past three matches. However, the group’s defense has held strong, led by veteran goalkeeper Jane Campbell and her six clean sheets so far this season.

The Current and Dash last met down south in Houston in a match notable for the unusual weather. Kansas City demonstrated its relentless attack with an attempted 29 shots, but only Current forward Temwa Chawinga reached the back of the net. For its part, Houston made effective use of the team’s few opportunities and, following a four-hour rain delay, notched a second half goal to tie the match at 1-1.

Kansas City Current Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta – Midfielder and Captain Lo’eau LaBonta has been the face of the Current since the team’s return in 2021 and the undisputed ‘Celly Queen’ of the NWSL. She already held the record for Penalty Kicks for the club, but last week became the club’s top all-time regular season goal-scorer with her brace. Her rocket of a shot late in the opening half gave her 15 career goals for Kansas City.

Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell – Campbell was recently named an alternate to the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The reigning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year backstopped one of the stingiest defenses in the league in 2023. So far in 2024 she has not let down, leading the league with 67 saves and six clean sheets.

The Current have faced the Houston Dash more than the Kansas City club has played any other team in the league. Friday will mark the 15th matchup in all competitions since Kansas City entered the league in the 2021 season. The Current have the edge with an all-time winning record of 7-4-3 against the Dash. The teams are set to play again in July in the NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup.

When teams face Kansas City, they have more to be concerned about than just the Current’s fierce attacking lineup. 17 of the club’s players have scored in the 2024 regular season, including every center back who has reached the pitch for the Kansas City side. Ballisager was the final piece in this puzzle for the Current, scoring her first NWSL goal Sunday.

LaBonta’s long-range banger –- her second goal of the night -- reached the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 on Monday. The veteran’s first career brace was a memorable one. Her fifth goal of the season was her 15th regular season goal with the Current, locking her in as the club’s all-time leading regular season scorer. After a deflected ball from Claire Hutton at the top of the penalty area, LaBonta came screaming into frame. Her one-touch masterclass sailed on a war path through the defense and into the top right corner to extend Kansas City’s lead 3-0.

Availability report
OUT:  Vanessa DiBernardo (head), Nichelle Prince (knee), Gabrielle Robinson (SEI-knee), Mallory Weber (SEI-knee)



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