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Match Preview: KC NWSL vs. OL Reign at Legends Field

KC NWSL closes the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, playing for the first time at their permanent home for the season, Legends Field.  

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Houston Dash v Kansas City Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Match Details

KC NWSL (0-2-1)
vs. OL Reign (1-1-1)

When: Monday, May 3 | 7:00 PM CT

Where: Legends Field | Kansas City, KS

Live Stream: Paramount+

It’s the final game of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup as KC NWSL hosts OL Reign, and one last final tune up before the start of the regular season, which begins on Saturday, May 15th at Racing Louisville. The team will be playing for the first time at their permanent home for the season, Legends Field.

What we’re watching

Both KC and OL Reign are playing this final game looking ahead to the 2021 season since neither team was in contention for the championship game, which will be between NY/NJ Gotham FC and the Portland Thorns on Saturday. The Challenge Cup may have been a preseason tournament, but it was also very competitive.

“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t trying to win the Challenge Cup,” said head coach Huw Williams in the team’s press release. “We didn’t advance, but playing the level of opposition we have will certainly help prepare us for the regular season.

For KC, the Challenge Cup did reveal areas that the team needs to work on as the season approaches. Attacking and the midfield continue to be a struggle for the team. 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, suspensions. The team was never at full strength, and Huw Williams had to adapt, using multiple formations, with players in different positions. This final game could see another starting line up as more players become available and as Williams continues to explore tactics.

We can expect to see forwards Darian Jenkins and Mallory Weber earn some minutes. Jenkins has missed the last three games with a left thigh injury. Weber had been on loan with Australian W-League side, Adelaide United. Their return will be a plus for a struggling KC attack. Defender Kristen Edmonds will also return to the starting line up. She had served a two-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct against Portland.

KC NWSL Injury Report

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

QUESTIONABLE: Darian Jenkins (Left Thigh)

Also of note, the NWSL Discipline Committee determined last week that forward Mariana Larroquette committed unsportsmanlike conduct in last Monday’s game against the Houston Dash. She has been issued a one-game suspension and will miss this evening’s match.

Projected Line Up: 4-3-3

Barnhart (GK)
Edmonds, Corsie, Leach, Bowen
LaBonta, Logarzo, Listro
Vasconcelos, Rodriguez, Pickett

Huw will look to change formation again to a 4-3-3. Veteran goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart will earn her second start since goalkeeper Abby Smith is out with a right thigh injury again. Australin international Chloe Logarzo has played 75 minutes over two games as she continues to adjust to her new team. There’s hope she can help the team’s offense from the midfield.

Prediction: KC NWSL 1-0