KC Current to face Chicago Red Stars Sunday

The Kansas City Current closes out the round robin stage of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup at home against the Chicago Red Stars at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas.\

Following last week’s 2-1 victory over the Houston Dash, the Current sit atop the Central Division with 10 points (3-1-1).

The Current took an early lead with a goal from Kristen Hamilton in the fourth minute, her third of the tournament. Liberty, Missouri, native Shea Groom tied the game for Houston in the 59th minute, but midfielder Victoria Pickett scored the game-winner for Kansas City in the 80th minute.

The Red Stars are second in the division with 8 points (2-1-2).

Last week against Racing Louisville, Chicago also jumped out to an early lead when Amanda Kowalski found the back of the net in the sixth minute. Louisville’s Emina Ekic scored the equalizer in the 75th minute. Neither team found any chances after that as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Tickets for Sunday’s match are still available at KansasCityCurrent.com/Tickets.

Playoff scenarios

Although there are many scenarios that would see Kansas City advance to the NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinals, the easiest route to the playoffs is with a win or draw on Sunday. Either result would allow the Current to win the Central Division.

Two other important matches to watch occur on Saturday. Should Washington defeat North Carolina and OL Reign defeat San Diego, a Kansas City win on Sunday would result in the Current hosting the semifinal match on May 4.

Last meeting

Defender Hailie Mace stole the show against Chicago on March 25 when the Current visited Seatgeek Stadium.

Chicago’s Vanessa DiBernardo took a long shot on goal that ricocheted off a Kansas City defender into the goal in the 22nd minute, putting them ahead 1-0 at the halftime break.

Mace came out strong in the second half, tying the game with a goal to the far post in the 58th minute. In the 86th minute she chipped the ball over the Red Stars defense to a wide-open Kristen Hamilton for the winning goal.

Players to watch

Kansas City Current: Defender Alex Loera – Loera is one of three players, and the only rookie, to start every match for Kansas City. Originally picked in the 2021 NWSL Draft, Loera returned to Santa Clara to help the Broncos win a NCAA Championship before joining Kansas City. Her calm demeanor and strong defense have been important to the young Current backline as the team has climbed the Central Division ladder.

Chicago Red Stars: Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher – Naeher returned to the field after missing much of the 2021 season with an injury suffered with the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She has only conceded four goals in the tournament so far, two of them to Kansas City on March 25.

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KC Current defeats Houston Dash, 2-1

Kansas City Current reclaimed first place in the Central Division of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dash on Friday night in front of a crowd of over 5,000 fans at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

“Obviously, nothing like a home win,” head coach Matt Potter said. “Delighted with the result. Incredible again with the noise, the atmosphere and the fanbase was fantastic all the way through and certainly helped towards the end of the game. That was the first thing we wanted to do when the game ended, was go celebrate with the people that matter.”

The Current kicked things off with an early goal in the fourth minute. Rookie midfielder Izzy Rodriguez, making her first professional start, found herself on the end of a ball kept in bounds by forward Elyse Bennett.

Rodriguez crossed it through the penalty box to find forward Kristen Hamilton, who headed it past the Houston goalkeeper. It was Rodriguez’s first career assist.

The Dash nearly answered in the 28th minute when defender Michelle Alonzie found herself open on the right flank. Current goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made a diving save to keep the lead for Kansas City.

However, Kansas City native Shea Groom tied the score for the Dash in the 59th minute, finding herself on the end of a long cross from Maria Sànchez. Her shot slid underneath Franch to tie the game.

Just three minutes after being subbed on, midfielder Victoria Pickett retook the lead for Kansas City in the 80th minute.

A free kick for the Current from Edmonds found Chardonnay Curran in the box, who fought to keep the ball before it deflected off the back line and fell to the feet of Pickett. Pickett’s shot sailed through the legs of goalkeeper Jane Campbell for the Current’s game winner.

“It’s a team effort and it’s going to take every single one of us,” midfielder Victoria Pickett said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in the starting eleven or coming off the bench or if you’re in the stands. Everyone plays a huge part on this team. I think it’s great that we have that type of chemistry, both on and off the pitch.”

With 10 points (3-1-1), the Current lead the Central Division of the NWSL Challenge Cup. They’ll take on second place Chicago Red Stars at home at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24. Season tickets and flex plans are available for all home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. For ticket information visit kansascitycurrent.com.

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Some KC Current matches to be on TV

The National Women’s Soccer League has announced the full television and streaming schedule for the 2022 season. The Kansas City Current will be featured in six exclusive nationally broadcast matches this season.

The CBS Sports Network will air two Current matches this season, including Christen Press’ first visit to Children’s Mercy Park with Angel City FC at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19.

Then again on Sept. 11 when Kansas City travels to Red Bull Arena to face NJ-NY Gotham. The NWSL has also announced an updated kick time for this match, with it now starting at 5 p.m.

Four matches will be broadcast exclusively on Twitch, including the season opener on April 30, May 21 at Angel City, Aug. 28 against the North Carolina Courage and the regular season finale at OL Reign on Oct. 1.

Paramount+, Paramount Global’s subscription streaming service, will stream the remaining 16 Kansas City matches.

The full Kansas City Current broadcast schedule:

DATE Home Away Kick (CT) Broadcast

Sat, Apr 30 Portland Thorns Kansas City 5 p.m. Twitch
Sun, May 08 Kansas City Houston Dash 4 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, May 14 Orlando Pride Kansas City 5:30 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, May 21 Angel City Kansas City 9:30 p.m. Twitch
Wed, May 25 OL Reign Kansas City 9 p.m. Paramount +
Mon, May 30 Kansas City Louisville 2 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, Jun 04 Kansas City San Diego Wave 7:30 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, Jun 11 Kansas City NY/NJ Gotham 7:30 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, Jun 18 Kansas City Chicago Red Stars 7:30 p.m. Paramount +
Fri, Jul 01 Houston Dash Kansas City 7:30 p.m. Paramount +
Sun, Jul 10 Washington Spirit Kansas City 4 p.m. Paramount +
Sun, Jul 17 Kansas City OL Reign 6 p.m. Paramount +
Sun, Jul 31 Kansas City Orlando Pride 6 p.m. Paramount +
Sun, Aug 07 San Diego Wave Kansas City 4 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, Aug 13 NC Courage Kansas City 7 p.m. Paramount +
Fri, Aug 19 Kansas City Angel City 7 p.m. CBSSN
Sun, Aug 28 Kansas City NC Courage 6 p.m. Twitch
Sun, Sep 11 NY/NJ Gotham Kansas City 5 p.m. CBSSN
Wed, Sep 14 Chicago Red Stars Kansas City 7 p.m. Paramount +
Sun, Sep 18 Kansas City Portland Thorns 4 p.m. Paramount +
Sun, Sep 25 Kansas City Washington Spirit 4 p.m. Paramount +
Sat, Oct 01 Louisville Kansas City 6:30 p.m. Twitch