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KC NWSL begins 2021 NWSL season @ Racing Louisville

KC NWSL begins the 2021 NWSL season @ Racing Louisville, a match between two expansion sides.

Kansas City v Chicago Red Stars Photo by DANIEL BARTEL/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Match Details

KC NWSL (0-0-0)
@ Racing Louisville (0-0-0)

When: Saturday, May 15 | 4:00 PM CT

Where: Lynn Family Stadium | Louisville, KY

Live Stream: CBS Sports Network

With the Challenge Cup in the history books, the NWSL turns the page into a new season, the 9th overall, welcoming two expansion sides that will face each other in their respective inaugural regular season games. KC NWSL travels to Racing Louisville to begin the 2021 NWSL season.

The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network is available on all major carriers in the Kansas City metro area. In addition, SportsRadio 810 WHB is also hosting a watch party at Gametime District, 7300 W 119th St. in Overland Park, Kansas.

How we got here

Kansas City NWSL was announced as the National Women’s Soccer League’s newest expansion team on December 7, 2020 after Utah Royals FC ceased operations. The NWSL had returned to the city it had left in 2017 after FC Kansas City also ceased operations. Some things just have a way of working out, but KC has an NWSL team to cheer for once again. 160 days since that December day, KC NWSL team has built its own identity and purpose, playing with the KC crest this season, while the club develops a permanent name and brand for future seasons.

What we’re watching

KC NWSL now enters the season with four games of experience from the Challenge Cup. The tournament revealed that the attacking and the midfield were points of refinement, but the defense also struggled, allowing 8 goals. At the same time, KC played the majority of the Challenge Cup adjusting without its usual starting players. Throughout the tournament, KC missed 13 out of the 26 players, either through injuries, international duty, and suspensions. The team was never at full strength, and Huw Williams had to adapt, using multiple formations, with players in different positions. Only five players played in all four games of the tournament, and only three started every game (Rachel Corsie, Amy Rodriguez and Victoria Pickett).

As the regular season kicks off today, Kansas City’s roster sees the return of defender Elizabeth Ball and forward Darian Jenkins. Both missed the Challenge Cup with injuries. The roster will receive much needed reinforcements with their KC debut.

In the last Challenge Cup game against OL Reign, KC might have played its best game of the tournament, even if it was a loss, but the team began to see glimpses of what could be as the season approached. Forward Mallory Weber returned from her loan in Australia and scored with a curling shot. She should be able to play more than the 30 minutes against Racing Louisville. And of course, there’s Amy Rodriguez who scored in two out of the four Challenge Cup games. She ranks 8th in the NWSL in goals and has added 9 shots with 6 on frame.

KC NWSL Injury Report

OUT: Arielle Ship (Season-Ending - Right Lower Leg), Chloe Logarzo (Left Hip), Diana Matheson (Left Foot), Abby Smith (Right Thigh)

QUESTIONABLE: Katie Bowen (Right Thigh)

Projected Line Up: 4-3-3

Barnhart (GK)
Edmonds, Corsie, Leach, Bowen
LaBonta, Scott, Pickett
Weber, Rodriguez, Jenkins

Huw Williams will again have to make adjustments, particularly at midfield. Chloe Logarzo will miss the game with a left hip injury. Victoria Pickett will slide back to the midfield as Darian Jenkins will earn her first start. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart will also earn another start as Abby Smith continues to be out with a right thigh injury.

Prediction: KC NWSL 1-0