Match Preview: Unbeaten streaks take center stage in Kansas City Current’s final game of homestand Kansas City Current

Match Preview: Unbeaten streaks take center stage in Kansas City Current’s final game of homestand

Two of the NWSL’s most in-form clubs square off Saturday night when the Kansas City Current host the Chicago Red Stars. The final contest of the Current’s four-game homestand kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed nationally on Paramount+.

Kansas City extended its unbeaten streak to three matches in thrilling fashion Saturday against NJ/NY Gotham FC. Defender Izzy Rodriguez, mere moments after coming on as a substitute in the waning moments of the second half, made a driving run down the left side and angled the ball to forward Kristen Hamilton at the top of the penalty box. Hamilton slotted the ball home in the 84th minute, giving Kansas City the 1-0 victory. 

Chicago brings a six-match unbeaten streak to Children’s Mercy Park and hasn’t lost a match since May 15. The Red Stars’ most recent triumph came Sunday in a 1-0 victory over the Orlando Pride. Chicago forward Mallory Pugh provided the game’s lone goal in the 10th minute courtesy of a beautiful long-range strike.

HOMECOMING SUCCESS 
The Current’s win over Gotham FC featured the debuts of recent trade acquisitions and Kansas City metro natives forward Cece Kizer and defender Addisyn Merrick. Both were acquired via trade June 9 from Racing Louisville FC and saw significant action with their new club about 48 hours later. 

Kizer started Saturday’s match and played 61 minutes. The former Blue Valley Northwest standout looked sharp, attacking Gotham’s defense on both the right and left sides. She nearly capped a spectacular individual run with a goal in the 58th minute. Dribbling through the penalty box, she found herself with an open look at goal. Kizer was able to get a shot off, but it was deflected away from danger at the last moment.

Merrick was brought on in the 61st minute for midfielder Victoria Pickett. The former University of Kansas product helped hold down the center of the park for the final third of the match, and helped the Current protect its one-goal advantage down the stretch. 

ANCHORED IN DEFENSE 
The Current’s two victories over the recent homestand have come via 1-0 shutouts, with both performances featuring a combination of stellar defending and excellent goalkeeping.

This was evident in Saturday night’s victory. Gotham FC had 16 total shots, but just four on goal. Kansas City’s defense made necessary interventions when Gotham worked the ball inside the penalty box, forced a good number of shots from distance and goalkeeper Cassie Miller made the necessary saves when called upon. In the 43rd minute, Miller made a fantastic reflexive save to knock a Gotham shot off the post from close range, which helped keep the match scoreless at the time. Miller recorded four total saves in her first appearance of the 2022 NWSL regular season. 

FAMILIAR FOES 
Saturday night’s contest marks the third meeting in all competitions between Kansas City and Chicago in 2022, and the first in the regular season. In the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup, the Red Stars finished in second place to Kansas City in the Central Division. The teams faced off twice, with the Current nabbing 2-1 victories both times. 

What’s more, Kansas City and Chicago have faced off six times in all competitions entering Saturday, with the Current holding a 2-3-1 record against the Red Stars. After Saturday, Chicago will have tied the Houston Dash for the most frequent opponent in Kansas City Current history with seven all-time meetings datin back to 2021.

WORLD CLASS
Kansas City was named as one of 16 cities to host the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup Thursday. While matches will be held at GEHA Arrowhead Stadium, the Current’s training complex and stadium are both scheduled to be open and available for use by the time the world comes to KC.

Five NWSL markets were chosen to host the World Cup. Joining Kansas City are Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York and Seattle. Non-NWSL USA cities chosen Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

PLAYERS TO WATCH 
Kansas City Current defender Alex Loera — Loera has anchored Kansas City’s back line in recent weeks, appearing in at least 80 minutes in the Current’s last five matches. In her first NWSL season, Loera has 10 clearances, 11 interceptions and four blocks. The 2021 second-round draft pick has not only been an excellent asset defensively but has also proved valuable on set pieces. Loera has been frequently involved in the Current’s corner kick routines in recent weeks and recorded an assist in Kansas City’s 2-2 draw with the San Diego Wave.

Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Pugh — Slowing down Pugh, the NWSL’s leader in shots on goal with 17, will be a focal point for the Current’s defense Saturday night. The 24-year-old forward enters Saturday’s match in great form, with goals in her last two matches. All five of her goals have come during Chicago’s ongoing six-game unbeaten streak, and her five goals rank third in the NWSL.

MATCH INFO  
Kansas City Current vs. Chicago Red Stars  
Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. CT  
Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kansas  
Stream on Paramount+ 

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