Who: Kansas City vs Portland Thorns FC
When: Sunday, October 10 at 4 PM CT
Where: Legends Field | Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City NWSL returns to action for the first time since September 26th when they host the Portland Thorns for the first time. It will be the fourth meeting between the two teams in all competitions, but the previous matches took place in Portland where the Thorns were victorious.
The whole league has been reeling with the news of the coercion and abuse at the hands of a prominent coach and others. Portland and the North Carolina Courage were most impacted but players, staff and fans around the NWSL have been shaken.
When asked about his team the last few days, Kansas City manager Huw Williams answered, “It’s been difficult, not a lot of soccer. The focus has been on the players as people rather than soccer players. It has indeed been difficult for everybody, staff included but obviously not scratching the surface of what the players have went through.”
While they are still working through emotions and healing, they did resume practices. “In the past few days, we have focused on Portland and preparing for that, and I don’t want to say things are getting better, but we have had some soccer in there at least and I think that is everyone’s happy place,” Williams added.
Looking at the table the match seems lopsided in favor of the visitors. Portland is at the top with 38 points and a 12-6-2 record while Kansas City is in the cellar with 11 points and a 2-12-5 record.
One positive for Kansas City is recent results should give them hope for a result. The Thorns just played on Wednesday at home and lost to the Houston Dash 3-2. Portland lost their previous match in Chicago as well and Kansas City will be hoping to make it three losses in a row for Portland.
On the other side of the equation, Kansas City has struggled in their inaugural season but there are starting to get results at home. Kansas City is 2-0-2 at home in their last four, only giving up one goal in that time.
Williams recognizes the challenge that Portland presents. “They’re good, lots of national team players on different countries. They’ve been a powerhouse in the league for a long time and they will be a tough matchup. A tough matchup for anybody in the league. We have to play our best to be able to do well against them, that’s for sure. I would no doubt prefer to play them at home than at their place again,” Williams explained.
OUT: Chloe Logarzo (right knee-SEI), Victoria Pickett (right ankle), Arielle Ship (right lower leg-SEI), Mallory Weber (right lower leg)
A difficult game to analyze ahead of time with so much emotional toll taken on all the players. Portland has everything to play for to try to stay at the top of the table while Kansas City players are needing to show that they deserve to be on the roster next year.
Williams has plenty of options but with regular starter and budding star Victoria Pickett unavailable and Australian International Chloe Logarzo out for the season, he may get to experiment a bit more. A number of versatile players has allowed Williams to mix-and-match, seeing who can slot in where for next year.