Kansas City NWSL played to a 0-0 draw on Friday night at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas.
Kansas City NWSL returned home for the first time in the month of July to take on the North Carolina Courage.
Goalkeeper Carly Nelson earned a shutout in her first career start with Kansas City as the game ended with a 0-0 draw.
Nelson explained after the game that it was a memorable experience for her to start and gain a clean sheet for Kansas City.
“Honestly, being out there when I stepped on the field for the first time, it’s kind of like a dream come true, but it’s exciting to experience,” she said. “I thought the team played well. Given the circumstances and everything that has happened this week – really proud of the team.”
The match kicked off only a day after a blockbuster trade between the Courage and Kansas City that saw three players (Hailie Mace, Katelyn Rowland and Kristen Hamilton) sent to Kansas City and Amy Rodriguez to North Carolina. Hamilton and Rodriguez both premiered in the Starting XI for their new clubs.
Kansas City opened the game on the front foot and applied the pressure on North Carolina’s backline, getting six shots off in the first 27 minutes.
Hamilton made an immediate impact as she had two early opportunities on Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy. KC’s Darian Jenkins nearly converted in the 24th minute cutting inside her defender and striking a low left corner shot that was tipped away at the last moment.
The Courage had a chance of its own in the 29th minute when Taylor Smith had an open net from a rebound, but KC defender Kristen Edmonds came up huge with a chest save to keep it off the line. Although the possession and shots favored Kansas City, they were unable to find the back of the net in the first half.
Kansas City came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half with an early chance from rookie Kiki Pickett, who dribbled the flank and played a beautifully crossed ball in for Victoria Pickett, but the shot went wide.
Head cCoach Huw Williams was proud of Pickett’s play and her vocal leadership on the field
“One of the reasons why we drafted her so high is that Pickett is going to be an integral part of this team for a long time to come,” he said. “The leadership qualities that she brings to that locker room and to the field and to the practices is exactly what this team needs.”
In the 63rd minute Mace and Jordyn Listro both entered the game in an effort to bring fresh legs into the attack. Kansas City had its best chance of the game in the 86th minute when Mace streaked down the left side of the box and placed a perfectly driven ball to the low left corner. Courage goalkeeper Murphy was able to get a fingertip on it that tipped it just out of play.
Kansas City will now shift its focus as it heads on the road to visit the Portland Thorns at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1. The game will be at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, and will stream live on KCTV5 locally and Paramount+ nationally.
- Story from KC NWSL