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Match Preview: KC NWSL vs. the Houston Dash at Children’s Mercy Park

KC NWSL hosts the Houston Dash, returning to Children’s Mercy Park and bringing back women’s professional soccer to Kansas City.

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Photo: Thad Bell | The Blue Testament

Match Details

KC NWSL (0-1-1)
vs. Houston Dash (0-0-2)

When: Monday, April 26 | 7:30 PM CT

Where: Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, KS

Live Stream: Paramount+

The last time a Kansas City women’s professional team played a home game in KC was on September 29, 2017 against the very same team they face tonight, the Houston Dash. That KC team ceased operations, and its players relocated to Salt Lake City to play for Utah Royals FC, who also ceased operations last December. It was an unpredictable turn of events, but 1,305 days later, a Kansas City NWSL team will once again play a home game in the city they left three and half years ago.

Due to continued construction at its home stadium, Legends Field, KC NWSL will open 2021 at home at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City’s staple soccer stadium, home to Sporting Kansas City. No one could have scripted a better homecoming, to play in front of a Kansas City crowd at a bigger stadium, allowing for more fans to attend, after spending two weeks on the road.

What we’re watching

Both KC and Houston are in search of a win this Challenge Cup. The Dash, the 2020 Challenge Cup Champions, come into the match with two draws while Kansas City has a loss and a draw. After a 2-1 loss in Portland, KC NWSL earned their first points in franchise history with a 1-1 draw against Chicago last Wednesday. Kansas City can score goals, but it has not been enough to earn them three points, and head coach Huw Williams continues to point out that the attack is not where it needs to be and how the attack needs to create more chances.

So far, Amy Rodriguez has been on a scoring streak with a goal in each game, but Kansas City cannot be a team that relies solely on one player to score. Other players need to finish their chances and create opportunities. All eyes will for sure be on ARod again, but also on Mariana Larroquette – Kansas City’s first international signing. Larroquette should earn a start after barely playing against Chicago last week. She was, after all, signed for her creativity and scoring abilities.

KC NWSL Injury Report

OUT: Arielle Ship (Right Lower Leg), Jaycie Johnson, (Right Thigh), Darian Jenkins (Left Thigh), Elizabeth Ball (Right Lower Leg), Diana Matheson (Left Foot), Abby Smith (Right Thigh)

Also of note, defender Kristen Edmonds will serve her second game of suspension for misconduct against Portland on April 9.

Projected Line Up: 4-4-2

Barnhart (GK)
Bowen, Corsie, Del Fava, Miramontez
Nolf, Scott, LaBonta, Pickett
Rodriguez, Larroquette

Huw will look to change formation to a 4-4-2, hoping that the four midfielders can supplement the attack. Veteran goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart will earn her first start since goalkeeper Abby Smith is out with a right thigh injury.

Prediction: KC NWSL 1-0