by Brian Turrel
Kansas City’s NWSL team dropped the final game of their inaugural season 3-0 to Portland’s OL Reign, but the game seemed like merely an afterthought to the hype surrounding the announcement of the team’s new name, the Kansas City Current.
A halftime light show set the stage for the announcment, revealed simultaneously on the Legends Field video board, on signs around the field, and on the team’s website and social media.
The Current players took the field in the second half wearing the team’s new crest: a vertical KC, crossed by a sweeping river shape, and adorned by two stars representing championships won by Kansas City FC.
Back to the game, the Current had trouble fighting out of their own end during the first half hour, ceding repeated corner kicks to the Reign. Kansas City’s defense didn’t give up a goal in that stretch, but lost captain Rachel Corsie to an injury in the 23rd minute.
Kansas City’s best opportunity came in the 34th minute, when Lo’eau LaBonta unleashed a shot from just outside the penalty area that passed inches outside the goalpost.
In the 35th minute, the pressure got to Kansas City, which conceded an own goal, a redirection on a Reign shot from distance.
No longer able to play for a tie, Kansas City pushed higher on their offense with five minutes remaining in the half. The change in tactics created sustained pressure, but no goals, and the halftime score was 1-0.
OL Reign didn’t take long to double its lead in the second half. In the 48th minute, Megan Rapinoe sent a corner kick that bounced to the back post where it was knocked in by Eugenie Le Sommer.
The Rapinoe-Le Sommer connection worked again in the 64th minute, this time with a cross into the box that Le Sommer headed home for a 3-0 advantage.
With a sizeable advantage in the late stages of the game, the Reign used all five available substitutions to protect key players as they tune up for the coming NWSL playoffs.
The loss snapped Kansas City’s streak of seven home games without a loss, and the expansion squad’s final record stands at 3 wins, 7 draws, and 14 losses.
The Current has announced the team will play the 2022 season at Children’s Mercy Park. The team’s ambitious plans include a training facility to be built in Riverside, Missouri, and a dedicated $70 million, 11,000 seat stadium to be built on the riverfront in Kansas City, Missouri, in time for the 2024 season.