Kizer, Bennett score in 2-2 Current comeback

Forward Elyse Bennett smiled after scoring in the 57th minute of the Kansas City Current’s match Sunday . (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Kansas City Current made a spirited second-half comeback Sunday evening, rallying from a two goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against Orlando,  extending the team’s run of success to eight straight matches without a loss.

Kansas City’s defense held Orlando harmless through the first 25 minutes, but the visitors’ first shot was a keeper — an Erika Tymrak cross from the left that Celia Jimenez headed inside the near post.

The Current generated more offensive chances in the first half, but only a Kristen Hamilton drive up the middle required more than a token effort from Orlando goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

Kansas City was down 1-0 at the break, Orlando quickly counter-attacked on Kansas City’s second-half opening kick, doubling the lead in the 46th minute. Goalkeeper A.D. Franch was knocked down in close action in front of the Kansas City goal, and the ball fell to Orlando’s Julie Doyle to put into an empty net.

The two-goal disadvantage seemed to heat up the Current’s offense. Direct, accurate forward passes set up the Kansas City attack for multiple dangerous chances.

In the 57th minute, Hailie Mace won a duel at midfield and flipped the ball to Elyse Bennett. Bennett, a halftime substitute, swerved through the right side of the Orlando defense and ricocheted a shot off the far post and into the net to start the comeback.

Sloppy distribution passes in the Kansas City backfield gave Orlando some dangerous possessions in the second half, but the defense recovered each time and kept the visitors’ tally at two.

In the 82nd minute, CeCe Kizer drew the match level at two. She split Orlando’s central defenders with a run straight up the middle and then chipped the ball high over goalkeeper McLeod.

Past the keeper, Kizer needed only to touch the ball into the open net for her third goal since joining the Current in June.

Kansas City kept straining to score a third goal and a victory, and nearly succeeded with a short range shot from Hamilton that was smothered by McLeod in stoppage time.

The Kansas City Current has two games on the road at the San Diego Wave and North Carolina Courage, and the team plays its next home match against Angel City FC on Aug. 19, kicking off at 7 p.m.

Forward CeCe Kizer flipped the ball over goalkeeper Erin McLeod on her way to scoring the game-tying goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Kristen Hamilton nearly got away a game-winning shot in stoppage time. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Elyse Bennett’s appeal for a foul was granted when she was taken down just outside the Orlando penalty area. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Victoria Pickett looked for an opening to pass. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Elyse Bennett won a header near the Orlando goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Kate Del Fava made a run along the right end line past Orlando defender Carrie Lawrence. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Orlando defender Kylie Strom got a foot out to block a second half shot by forward Elyse Bennett. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


The Current celebrated Kansas City Kicks Cancer night, and fans held signs celebrating cancer survivors. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Elyse Bennett closed quickly on the Orlando goal to score in the 57th minute. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta fired a shot through traffic that was blocked by Orlando defender Celia Jimenez Delgado. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Orlando goalkeeper Erin McLeod extended to get in front of a shot by forward Elyse Bennett. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

Hamilton scores late game-winner against Gotham

Forward CeCe Kizer burst her way between two Gotham defenders for a chance on goal. Kizer is now playing for her hometown team after last week’s trade from her previous club, Racing Louisville FC. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton broke open a scoreless tie against NJ-NY Gotham FC in the 84th minute to earn a 1-0 win for the home team in Saturday evening’s match at Children’s Mercy Park.

Defender Izzy Rodriguez, on as a substitute just two minutes prior, made a push up the left wing and then fed the ball back to Hamilton who was unmarked and charging up the middle. Hamilton drilled a one-touch left-footed shot into the lower right corner of the goal from about 15 yards out.

The game marked a homecoming for Overland Park native CeCe Kizer. Acquired by the Current in a trade last week with Racing Louisville, Kizer debuted in the starting lineup and played 60 minutes.

Kizer’s speed at the top of Kansas City’s formation opened up a new dimension for the offense and paired well with Hamilton. A well-executed build-up in the first half among Kizer, Hamilton, Kate Del Fava and Lo’eau LaBonta produced a great scoring opportunity.

Defender Addisyn Merrick, of Lee’s Summit, was also acquired in the Louisville trade and came on as a substitute in the 61st minute.

Reserve goalkeeper Cassie Miller started for the the Current, and registered three saves, including a great fingertip save that deflected Paige Monaghan’s shot onto the post  in the 43rd minute.

After losing four of its first five matches, the Current has now won two of the last three. Kansas City will be back on the Children’s Mercy Park pitch next Saturday against the Chicago Red Stars.

Forward Kristen Hamilton encountered some fierce resistance from Gotham defender Mandy Freeman but got no help from referee Samantha Martinez. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Zeke the Wonder Dog made a running leap off his handler’s shoulders to catch a Frisbee in mid-air. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Kate Del Fava looked for a way past Gotham defender Imani Dorsey. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta went all out to get off a shot just outside the Gotham 6-yard box. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Victoria Pickett hurdled the leg of Gotham defender Imani Dorsey to continue her run at the goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Elyse Bennett crossed the ball in front of the Gotham goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Team captain Desiree Scott signed a jersey for a fan after the match. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

KC Current shuts out Houston, 3-0, to retain first place in Central Division

The Kansas City Current continued its unbeaten run in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup with a 3-0 win over the Houston Dash Wednesday in Texas.

Taylor Leach and Lo’eau LaBonta both scored their first goals of the season while Kristen Hamilton added a second to her tally. Goalkeeper Cassie Miller got her first start with the Current to lead the team to its first shutout in 2022.

“[Scoring first was] something we’ve talked about on reflection of the last two games if we want to be the team that we want to be,” head coach Matt Potter said. “We’ve shown that we can compete, but there’s probably a better way to do it than we have been doing it, which is obviously to try to get the first goal. Especially when we’re on the road, when you know teams are going to be the aggressor.”

Kansas City’s first goal came in the second minute, the fastest goal ever scored both in club and Challenge Cup history. Hailie Mace swung a corner kick low into the box to find Taylor Leach, who perfectly volleyed the ball past Jane Campbell into the top left corner. Mace became the all-time leader in assists in the Challenge Cup with her fifth.

In the 28th minute, defender Maddie Nolf slid a smooth pass into the box to rookie striker Elyse Bennett. Bennett chipped it over the back line to find Kristen Hamilton, who buried it in the back of the net. It was Bennett’s first start and first assist of the season.

Bennett got her second assist of the season in the second half with a calm through ball past the Houston back line. LaBonta charged past the defenders to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper and chipped it in for Kansas City’s third goal.

Kansas City’s steady defense silenced most of the Dash attack, but Cassie Miller came up big when required. In the 10th minute, Houston midfielder Makamae Gomera-Stevens found herself with the ball at the top of the 18-yard box. She launched a shot toward the left side of the goal, but Miller came up big to punch it over the crossbar.

The Kansas City Current remain undefeated in the 2022 Challenge Cup with seven points in the Central Division. The team returns home to take on Racing Louisville FC at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas.

Season tickets and flex plans are available for all home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. For ticket information, visit

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