Match: Houston Dash (10-6-6, 36pts) vs Kansas City Current (10-6-6, 36pts)
When: Sunday, Oct 15th at 4:00 p.m. CT
Where: PNC Stadium | Houston, Texas
Listen: ESPN Kansas City Radio, 94.5 FM | 1510 AM
The Kansas City Current (10-6-6, 36pts) travel to the Houston Dash (10-6-6, 36pts) Sunday in the first round of the NWSL playoffs. This NWSL Quarterfinals match marks the first playoff game for the Current and Houston.
The Dash claimed fourth place and a home playoff game with a win in the last regular season match. Kansas City had great momentum with a thirteen-game unbeaten streak but slowed up at the end of the season. A last-minute goal by Racing Louisville dashed Kansas City’s hopes of a home playoff game, dropping them to fifth overall.
Previous Meeting: The Current face Houston for the fifth time in 2022. Twice in the Challenge Cup (both wins for Kansas City) and twice in regular season with both wins for the visitors. The last match was on July 1st when Kansas City won 2-1 in Houston. The Current scored within minutes of either side of halftime and then gave away an own goal in the 100th minute to lose the shutout.
Neither team is the same as they were in July. Houston has a new coach and the last meeting was the first game for recently acquired Ebony Salmon. The Current have added Claire Lavogez. The Current had also recently added Cece Kizer so she is more integrated now.
Current will be missing Desiree Scott
The Canadian international will miss the first match after receiving a second yellow and the resulting red card in the last regular season match. The experienced defensive midfielder will be missed. With high stakes games from World Cups to Olympics to NWSL games, Scott’s experience would have been valuable to have on the field.
When asked about how the team’s preparations have been for their playoff match, Current head coach Matt Potter responded, “Everything is normal, we’re into a routine in terms of the season, we earned the right to extend that time to practice, so it’s been very much the same. Players have done a really good job in terms of managing the idea with the international window of getting the right rest and now we’re into full out planning and executing what we feel is a game plan that allows us to perform in a playoff game.”
Does Experience matter?
Neither team has a lot of playoff experience that will be on the field. The Current have Kristen Hamilton with experience from her North Carolina days but fellow Courage players Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis are out for the season. FC Kansas City playoff veteran Desiree Scott is suspended and will not be on the field either.
Coach Potter looks at playoff experience and other game experience as well. “Anytime you can get experience, it’s a positive. The fact that we may or may not have players (with playoff experience), I think throughout their careers, you’ll find many of them have been in scenarios where it has a kind of play off feel to it.”
“Our whole season has been like a playoff,” Potter added. “Every game that we play, we talked about a living out our identity, how we have to do five key things. One of them is play for something bigger than yourself and understand that every game deserves your best effort. So the reality is, when you’re playing for something bigger, whether it be the game, whether it be family, whether it be friends, whether it be the fans, then all the games are the same, they’re just an opportunity to go express yourself.”
Hamilton spoke about the feeling coming into the match, “It’s really exciting. It’s a big moment for the club.”
“Just have to do what we’ve been doing all year,” Hamilton continued, “It’s a nerve-racking moment. It’s times like this, that kind of show your character and show kind of who you are as a team. I think that we’ve just done a good job all season showing who we are in games and grinding out results, winning big, coming back from behind, we’ve kind of shown that we can do it all.
To get success, Hamilton said the team needs to “Just lean in on what we know, go out there and just be confident in who we are and what we know how to do. And if we perform will get the result we want.”
Jaycie Johnson (right leg)
Sam Mewis (SEI- right leg)
Mallory Weber (SEI- right leg)
Lynn Williams (SEI- right leg)
Desiree Scott (Suspension)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: N/A
Ella Dederick (right knee)
Makamae Gomera-Stevens (left knee)
Kelcie Hedge (SEI- right knee)
Annika Schmidt (SEI- right knee)
Allysha Chapman (left leg)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current midfielder Alex Loera — With Scott missing for a red card, there is a reasonable chance Loera will be called in to play the d-mid spot in her absence. It would not be the first time Loera played when Scott was missing, she played that role when Scott was in CONCACAF qualifying for the Olympics and World Cup. Loera played well in that spot, including the last time these two team met.
Kansas City attacker Kristen Hamilton – Hamilton’s playoff experience, leadership and grit will be needed to get the Current through to the next round.
Houston Dash forward Ebony Salmon — Salmon has scored nine goals since joining Houston mid-season and is the most potent attacker for the Dash.