Match Report: Kate Del Fava’s stoppage-time winner seals historic NWSL playoff victory for Kansas City Current Kansas City Current

Match Report: Kate Del Fava’s stoppage-time winner seals historic NWSL playoff victory for Kansas City Current

The Kansas City Current earned a historic victory Sunday evening, advancing to the semifinal round of the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) playoffs after defeating the Houston Dash 2-1. Defender Kate Del Fava slotted home the winning goal in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time to hand the Current its first-ever playoff victory. 

“First and foremost, we will enjoy this one. It’s another historic moment for the group and for the club,” said head coach Matt Potter. “It will be about celebrating this one and then we will start the process of moving toward Seattle at the weekend. Right now, the focus is that these players deserve to enjoy this moment.”

Kansas City quieted the 21,284 fans in attendance at PNC Stadium, the largest playoff crowd in league history, with a penalty kick goal from midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta in the fifth minute. Rookie defender Alex Loera, who started in place of suspended midfielder Desiree Scott in midfield, created the opportunity with an inch-perfect through ball to forward Kristen Hamilton. Hamilton was pulled down from behind in the penalty area by Dash defender Katie Naughton, which allowed LaBonta to open the scoring from the spot. 

However, LaBonta's penalty kick was the Current’s lone shot in the opening 45 minutes. Houston’s offense began peppering Kansas City’s net after the Current took a 1-0 lead, and eventually leveled the match in the 21st minute. On a Dash corner kick, the ball fell to midfielder Marissa Viggiano at the back post. She struck the ball on the half-volley and fizzed it past Current goalkeeper AD Franch to level the contest. 

The sides went into halftime with the score knotted at 1-1, but not before Franch made a fantastic stop in the 41st minute. Following another Dash set piece, Viggiano volleyed a ball at goal from outside the penalty area, but Franch dove to knock the ball away. 

Franch was called upon to make multiple key saves in Sunday’s match, particularly in the second half. Houston recorded 15 shots in the second half alone. Franch made two key stops in the 53rd and 59th minute, and the Dash struck the post in the 55th minute as well. Kansas City broke up Houston’s dangerous spell of play with a chance of its own in the 66th minute, when second-half substitute Elyse Bennett had a one-on-one opportunity with Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell denied. 

The match transitioned into an end-to-end affair as the contest wore on, and defender Kristen Edmonds made two key interventions to keep Houston off the scoresheet in one-on-one situations. Edmonds’ clutch defending helped keep the match level heading into nine minutes of second-half stoppage time, where chances began flying thick and fast for both sides. 

Forward Cece Kizer nearly slotted a ball home at the back post in the 90+3 minute, then Houston immediately raced down the field and generated a threatening scoring opportunity. Houston forward Michelle Alozie broke free from Kansas City’s defense and had a one-on-one opportunity with Franch, but Franch stood tall to deny the chance. The Current’s defense held strong and withstood multiple Houston set pieces before snatching victory in the final seconds. 

After forcing a Houston turnover in the attacking third, LaBonta and Loera combined for a brilliant give-and-go that freed Loera down the left flank. Loera slid the ball across the face of goal and past Campbell, and Del Fava was waiting at the back post to tap the ball home in the 90+10 minute. Del Fava’s goal marked the latest game-winning goal in regulation in NWSL history and allowed Kansas City to secure the 2-1 victory. It also marked the first goal of Del Fava’s NWSL career. 

With the historic victory, Kansas City will next face OL Reign in the NWSL Semifinals. The Current’s next playoff match will be held Sunday, Oct. 23 and kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network. Kansas City and OL Reign met twice in the regular season, with each side picking up a 1-0 win. 

NWSL Match Report
Match: 
Houston Dash v. Kansas City
Date: October 16, 2022
Venue: PNC Stadium, Houston, Texas 
Kickoff: 
4:07pm CT / 5:07pm ET
Weather: 90 degrees, sunny
Attendance: 21,284

Discipline
10' Kansas City – Lavogez (yellow)
26’ Houston – Prisock (yellow)
88’ Houston – Eddy (yellow)
89’ Houston – Alozie (yellow)
90+1’ Houston – Sánchez (yellow)
90+6’ Houston – Mace (yellow)

Scoring
5’ Kansas City– LaBonta (PK)
21’ Houston – Schmidt 
90+10’ Kansas City – Del Fava (Loera)

Scoring Summary
Goals                          1           2          F
Houston                    1           0          1
Kansas City               1           1           2

Lineups:
Houston
: Campbell, Dydasco, Prisock, Naughton, Jacobs, Schmidt, Viggiano, Sánchez, Prince, Alozie, Salmon (76’ Eddy)
Substitutes Not Used: Abam, Anderson, Gareis, Gauvin, Groom, Harris, Ogle, Visalli

Kansas City: Franch, Merrick (90+8’ Rodriguez), Ball, Edmonds, Loera, LaBonta, Lavogez (51’ Bennett), Kizer, Hamilton, Mace, Del Fava 
Substitutes Not Used: Curran, Leach, Logarzo, McCain, Miller, Winebrenner

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