Match Preview: Kansas City Current return to regular season play  against OL Reign Friday night Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Kansas City Current return to regular season play against OL Reign Friday night

The Kansas City Current (5-10-0, 15 pts.) will take on OL Reign (7-5-3, 24 pts.) for the second time this regular season, hosting the 2022 NWSL Shield Winners at Children’s Mercy Park. The action will kick off Friday at 7 p.m. CT with Jenn Hildreth and Jordan Angeli on the call for Paramount+ and Dave Borchardt and Jillian Carroll Letrinko on the call for KC Current Radio, available on the KC Current App.

Both teams come into this match after strong runs in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup. OL Reign and the Current each won their divisions and are the #1 and #2 seeds in the semifinal round of the tournament. The Current shut out Racing Louisville in its most recent match, with forward Kristen Hamilton scoring a brace and defender Hailie Mace notching her first score of the season. Hamilton’s first score came just three minutes into the match to pull the Current ahead of Racing. The veteran made the lead 2-0 in the 81st minute with an assist from Mace, who then took over from there and extended Kansas City to a 3-0 advantage in stoppage time.

With a successful run in its Challenge Cup group as well, OL Reign clinched the East Division title early and rode out their final group stage match against the Portland Thorns with a scoreless draw. Former Kansas City Current forward Elyse Bennet put up four shots against the Thorns, but neither team hit the back of the net. With the draw, Reign added to its streak, now with seven straight clean sheets in Challenge Cup matches.

This is the second time these two have met this season with the Reign winning at home on June 11. The visitors applied pressure early on but could not find the back of the net. The Reign scored on a penalty before the half and off a header midway through the second half. Kansas City forward Michelle Cooper placed a shot into the back of the goal at one point, but a VAR decision took the score off the board. Defender Izzy Rodriguez did get the Current on the board in stoppage time, but it was too late for Kansas City.

Kansas City Current Goalkeeper AD Franch –
Franch has been a key player for the Current since she joined the squad in 2021. The Salina, Kansas native is back in top form with two consecutive clean sheets. Her return to the pitch has been noteworthy for the Current as Franch continues to make big saves and lead the defense from the back.

OL Reign Forward Elyse Bennett – Bennett is a powerful striker, putting any defense on high alert when she enters the field of play. With two goals and two assists, the former Kansas City Current draft pick’s impact in her debut season with the Reign has remained impressive, as Bennett continues to cement her dominant role in the Reign offense.

The group stage of the Challenge Cup is officially wrapped up with the Current winning the division for the second straight season. The standings for league play look much different, as Kansas City is now six points out of playoff position. Even so, the team has regained momentum from its success in the Challenge Cup, winning four of the last six matches. Making up for early season setbacks, the Current have settled scores with the Portland Thorns, NC Courage and most recently, Racing Louisville in the Challenge Cup. The Reign was able to fight off a Current comeback in the last matchup, but two months later, Kansas City is at its strongest of the season. 

With only four teams left in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, many international NWSL representatives have been trickling back into league play. For Kansas City, Brazilian star forward Debinha will be back to take on the Reign. OL Reign’s roster also has multiple members of the Canadian national team, midfielder Quinn and forward Jordyn Huitema, who have been invaluable to the Reign this season. Five OL Reign players represented the U.S. in the World Cup, and their presence will mean big changes from OL’s July lineup if these players suit up against Kansas City. 

In Kansas City’s last two home games, the team has scored six times, three against both Houston and Louisville in the Challenge Cup. Forward Kristen Hamilton has been an offensive force, scoring five of the six, generating a hat trick against Houston Dash and a brace against Racing Louisville. Hailie Mace scored the third goal against Racing Louisville with a powerful shot in the final minutes in addition to her assist to Hamilton earlier in the night. On defense, the Current have allowed only one goal in the last three matches, earning two clean sheets for goalkeeper AD Franch.

As part of the team’s celebration of this year’s Nationwide Community Impact Project, the KC Current will recognize Variety KC as Friday’s Community Champion of the Match. Variety KC believes all kids should be active, be social and belong. The organizations help remove mobility and communication barriers by providing the necessary equipment and devices and provide inclusive opportunities for all children right here in our community. Forward Kristen Hamilton led this year’s Nationwide Community Impact Project, hosting a soccer clinic for children with disabilities.

The Current is proud to recognize Deborah Wiebrecht, former Executive Director of Variety KC, as Friday’s Hometown Hero, presented by Midwest Ford. Wiebrecht has made it her mission to make KC the most inclusive city for kids with disabilities in the nation, even before inclusion was such a buzz word. Through her work at Variety KC, with the city and with every major sports and entertainment venue in the area, she has broken down barriers and made our hometown a more welcoming place for all its residents and visitors. One of her most recent achievements was working to make the new KCI terminal the most inclusive airport in the world. She now consults with the area venues like the Kansas City Zoo, Starlight Theatre and KC Current Stadium to make it the most inclusive sports stadium. She is proud to help make Kansas City the leader of the #InclusionRevolution.



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