KC Current achieve come-from-behind victory, 4-3

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.

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Current travels to North Carolina Saturday

The Kansas City Current (6-4-4, 22pts, 5th place) will play its second and final August road match at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, against the North Carolina Courage (2-5-4, 10pts, 12th place) in Cary, North Carolina.

Saturday night’s match will be broadcast globally on Twitch as part of the streaming platform’s Soccer Saturday Night Showcase.

Last time out, the Current extended its franchise-best unbeaten streak to nine matches with a 2-1 road win over the San Diego Wave on Aug. 7.

First-half goals from forward Cece Kizer and defender Hailie Mace proved too much for the Wave to overcome Aug. 7 as Kansas City closed out the one-goal win. The victory extended the Current’s road winning streak to three matches, the longest such streak in the NWSL this season, while also placing them within just three points of first place in the league standings.

North Carolina also picked up a road result last weekend, coming back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 draw with the Portland Thorns on Aug. 5.

Rookie forward Diana Ordoñez scored twice in the match, which extended her goal total on the season to seven, and defender Jaelene Daniels nodded home the game-tying goal in the 85th minute. The Courage’s draw coincidentally marked the team’s third tie in a row and second 3-3 draw in as many matches.

Challenge Cup rematch

Saturday’s match is the first time these two teams have met this regular season, but the last meeting between Kansas City and North Carolina in 2022 had high stakes. On May 4, the Current and Courage met at a rainy Children’s Mercy Park in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinal.

The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, but the deficit did not deter the Current. Kansas City continued generating threatening scoring chances all match and finally broke through when forward Kristen Hamilton pulled a goal back in the 79th minute. Unfortunately, the Current could not find another goal as the Courage held on for the 2-1 win, which was the same score line that North Carolina beat the Washington Spirit by three days later in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Final. The Courage’s semifinal win continued a trend that will need breaking if the Current are to continue their road winning streak — North Carolina enters Saturday’s match having never lost to Kansas City.

However, it’s worth noting that both squads enter Saturday in completely different places than they were in May. The Courage have been unable to carry their Challenge Cup form over into the regular season and hold just 10 points through 11 regular season matches played. The Current, meanwhile, have vaulted themselves into playoff contention over the course of the club’s ongoing unbeaten run.

Road warriors

A pivotal reason for Kansas City’s incredible single-season turnaround is the team’s recent road form.
After entering the 2022 regular season having not won a regular season road match in club history, the Current have won three road matches in a row entering Saturday, the longest streak in the NWSL Two of those wins have come against top-three teams in the NWSL standings.

The Current’s wins over the Houston Dash and San Diego Wave, which sit in third and second place in the NWSL table respectively, both followed a similar game script despite occurring over a month apart. Kansas City built two-goal leads in both matches and conceded late in both instances that sent the match to a 2-1 finish. All three of the Current’s road victories in 2022 have been one-goal triumphs.

Career milestones

Several Current players achieved career milestones in last Sunday’s 2-1 win over San Diego. Most notably, team captain and Kansas City midfielder Desiree Scott surpassed 10,000 NWSL minutes played in the 60th minute of the match. Scott became just the 29th player in league history and second Canadian player to reach the 10,000-minute mark.

Kizer’s impressive solo run in the 27th minute led to her fourth goal of the season, tying the club record for most goals in a season and only one shy of her career high. The Overland Park, Kansas, native has scored all four of her goals for Kansas City in 2022 during the team’s unbeaten streak. Mace’s jaw-dropping strike in the 39th minute that soared perfectly into the top corner received national attention, earning the No. 6 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.

Current midfielder Claire Lavogez made her team debut in the 78th minute of the contest. The French international displayed her immense skill and technical ability over the final quarter-hour of Sunday’s match, an exciting sign of what Current fans can expect moving forward when she takes the field.

Home match

Following Saturday’s match, the Current return home to play Angel City on Friday, Aug. 19. The club is encouraging fans from across the region to #ShowUpKC. The team looks to break the all-time Kansas City attendance record and fill the seats with over 10,000 fans. Visit www.kansascitycurrent.com/tickets for more information on single-match tickets.

Players to watch

Kansas City Current defender Kristen Edmonds — Edmonds, who was one of four Kansas City Current players named to the NWSL July Best XI of the Month, has been a pivotal part of the team’s back line throughout the course of its nine-game unbeaten streak. Her 33 tackles are a team-high, and she also has 32 total clearances and 24 interceptions. Edmonds has played the full 90 minutes in all four of the Current’s shutout victories in the 2022 regular season. She followed up her team of the month nomination with a solid performance against San Diego last Sunday, starting and playing 78 minutes as Kansas City kept the Wave off the board.

North Carolina Courage defender Carson Pickett — Courage defender Carson Pickett was the team’s lone representative in the NWSL July Best XI of the Month. The honor marked Pickett’s second consecutive team of the month selection. She has been a reliable force for the Courage at outside back and a dynamic threat moving forward, with one goal, a team-high three assists and eight successful crosses in the 2022 regular season. Pickett received her first United States Women’s National Team appearance on June 28, a 2-0 friendly win over Colombia.

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KC Current wins 2-1 on the road

The Kansas City Current (6-4-4, 22pts, 5th place) extended its franchise-best unbeaten streak to nine matches with a 2-1 road victory over the San Diego Wave (7-4-4, 25pts, 2nd place) on Sunday afternoon.

Forward Cece Kizer and defender Hailie Mace’s first-half goals proved enough for the Current to secure the win, which marked the expansion Wave’s first home loss in club history.

“We had a really great week of practice where the quality was there to support the energy and endeavor and I thought that was reflected in the way we went about that first half,” said head coach Matt Potter. “So, very positive the goals were a reflection of that.”

Kansas City applied pressure to San Diego from the opening kickoff. Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta forced an early save from Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan in the 8th minute on a one-on-one opportunity following a San Diego turnover, a harbinger of what was to come in the opening 45 minutes.

The Current opened the scoring in the 27th minute after forward Kristen Hamilton launched a counterattack with a long through ball. Kizer ran onto the pass, weaved past a Wave defender and fired a shot past Sheridan to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.

The goal marked Kizer’s fourth goal as a member of the Current, all of which have come during the team’s nine-match unbeaten streak, and her second go-ahead goal this season.

Potter’s squad continued applying pressure on San Diego’s back line and it paid off in the 39th minute. Following another Wave turnover, Mace dribbled right into a group of San Diego defenders and fired a rocket from the top of the penalty box. The Ventura, California, native and July Best XI of the Month honoree’s curling shot sailed perfectly into the top corner to double the Current’s lead.

The Current’s 2-0 lead stood heading into halftime as a stout Kansas City defense didn’t allow a shot on target in the first half.

Another Current player reached a significant individual milestone in the early stages of the second half. Team captain and midfielder Desiree Scott surpassed 10,000 NWSL minutes played in the 60th minute. Scott became just the second Canadian player and 29th player in league history to reach the milestone.

“You can really see a togetherness and a belief in the partnerships that are building, the connections on the field,” said team captain Scott. “You know, people are working for one another and we’re just becoming more of a team. And you can see on the right side of the pitch, you can see people understanding each other’s roles a bit more and who they are as individuals. That connection coming together all across the pitch as we build through this season has been incredible to see. It’s great to come back in with the quad and continue this unbeaten record.”

Minutes later, the Current nearly extended its lead. Substitute forward Elyse Bennett continued her recent game-changing run of form by winning a penalty kick in the 67th minute.

LaBonta stepped up to take the spot kick and fired her shot to Sheridan’s right, but the goalkeeper dove to deny the effort and break LaBonta’s streak of three consecutive penalty kicks made in 2022.

However, Kansas City remained in control of the match after the momentum swing and continued to stifle San Diego’s offense. The Wave’s lone goal came from forward Amirah Ali in the 88th minute, which marked the team’s only shot on target in Sunday’s match. The Current weathered a late Wave push to see out a 2-1 win, which marked the team’s third consecutive road victory after entering the 2022 regular season without a road win in franchise history.

Kansas City remains on the road next weekend, taking on the North Carolina Courage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at WakeMed Soccer Park.

The team’s next home match is on Friday, Aug. 19, against Angel City FC, and the Current is encouraging fans from across the region to #ShowUpKC as the team looks to break an all-time Kansas City attendance record and fill the seats with over 10,000 fans.

Tickets for remaining 2022 home matches and 2023 season ticket membership renewals are available online at KansasCityCurrent.com/tickets.

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