In a thrilling seven-goal affair, the Kansas City Current (7-4-4, 25 pts, T-2nd place) took down the North Carolina Courage (2-6-4, 10 pts, 12th place) 4-3 on Saturday night in Cary, North Carolina, to extend the team’s franchise-best unbeaten streak to 10 matches.
Forward Claire Lavogez provided the game-winning goal with a strike from distance in the 79th minute to complete the comeback after the Current trailed by one goal on three separate occasions.
“Really proud of the group and how we stayed together and hung in there throughout the game in a very, very challenging environment,” head coach Matt Potter said. “North Carolina – their pedigree speaks for itself. To go on and win the game, we’re delighted, and we’re very proud right now.”
Saturday night’s match was an end-to-end affair from the opening kickoff. In what would become a theme throughout the contest, North Carolina opened the scoring in the 17th minute.
Rookie forward Diana Ordoñez notched the opening goal across after pouncing on a second-chance opportunity at the back post, her eighth goal of the season.
The Current did not wait long to equalize, tying the match in spectacular fashion in the 20th minute.
Following a corner kick and impressive bicycle kick by defender Elizabeth Ball to keep the play alive, forward Kristen Hamilton knocked in a driven shot on target from midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta. The goal marked Hamilton’s fifth of the season, which temporarily placed her as the team’s top goal scorer.
After North Carolina retook the lead in the 36th minute with a breakaway goal from midfielder Debinha, LaBonta leveled the match on the stroke of halftime with her first goal from the run-of-play in the 2022 regular season.
Forward Cece Kizer played a dangerous ball across the penalty box and, after a deflection, LaBonta ran onto the ball and smashed it into the net. LaBonta’s fourth goal of the season brought the match to 2-2 heading into the locker room.
Current goalkeeper A.D. Franch helped keep North Carolina’s offense at bay as the second half began with multiple key stops, but the Courage broke through on a set piece goal from Kaleigh Kurtz in the 56th minute. Kurtz’s headed goal struck both the post and crossbar before sneaking behind Franch.
Now down 3-2 with just over 30 minutes remaining, Kansas City went to work and completely took over the match.
In the 70th minute, midfielder Desiree Scott lifted a perfect ball down the line to LaBonta, who rolled in a dangerous cross to the penalty spot. Lavogez slid onto the ball but couldn’t quite connect, then Kizer slotted the ball home.
Lavogez was credited with the assist on Kizer’s goal, which marked her first NWSL assist. Kizer’s goal tied her with Hamilton for the team lead and club record five goals.
Minutes later, Lavogez completed the comeback with a moment of individual brilliance. Ball made an interception at midfield and pushed the ball ahead to Lavogez, who drove at North Carolina’s defense before launching the ball from over 30 yards away. Her shot sailed perfectly over Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy and into the top corner for her first NWSL goal. Kansas City held on from there to earn the 4-3 win.
Saturday’s win marked Kansas City’s fourth consecutive road victory, which extends the NWSL’s longest road winning streak in the 2022 season.
The Current became the first team since 2019 to win four road matches in a row. Additionally, the team now sits tied in a franchise-best second place in points in the NWSL standings ahead of a crucial home match against Angel City FC on Friday, Aug. 19, at Children’s Mercy Park.
The team is encouraging fans from across the region to #ShowUpKC for the Angel City match as the team looks to break an all-time Kansas City attendance record and fill the stands with over 10,000 fans.
Tickets for remaining 2022 home matches and 2023 season ticket membership renewals are available online at KansasCityCurrent.com/tickets.
- Story from KC Current