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KC Current roster set for 2022 Challenge Cup. Will this be a more competitive team?

With the 2022 Challenge Cup upon us, a roster of 22 players is set. What can we expect?

SOCCER: JUL 23 NWSL - NC Courage at Kansas City Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Kansas City Current return to the pitch this Friday as the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup kicks off to begin NWSL play for the year. The Current will be away at Racing Louisville FC, with at 6:30 p.m. CT game time available to watch on Paramount+.

With days leading up to the big opener, the Current released their 22-player roster on Tuesday, which include the four players selected in the NWSL College Draft last December: Elyse Bennett, Chardonnay Curran, Jenna Winebrenner, and Izzy Rodriguez.

KC Current Roster

Goalkeepers (2): Adrianna ‘AD’ Franch, Cassie Miller

Defenders (9): Elizabeth Ball, Kate Del Fava, Taylor Leach, Alex Loera, Hailie Mace, Maddie Nolf, Izzy Rodriguez, Mallory Weber, Jenna Winebrenner

Midfielders (7): Chardonnay Curran, Kristen Edmonds, Lo’eau LaBonta, Addie McCain, Sam Mewis, Victoria Pickett (INTL), Desiree Scott

Forwards (4): Elyse Bennett, Kristen Hamilton, Jaycie Johnson, Lynn Williams

We still don’t have a sense of how this team will perform in 2022, and head coach Matt Potter has not given much indication or details on where the team is (that we have heard, anyway, unless I missed it. Did I miss it?). Both Kansas City preseason matches were not streamed, but the Current did come away from both of those games unbeaten. First, a 6-0 victory and clean sheet against the Washington Spirit at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Then, a 0-0 draw with the Orlando Pride. The third and final game that this writer could have seen live against the University of Nebraska was canceled due to the cold weather.

The good news: Midfielder Sam Mewis made her debut for the team in the Orlando game coming on to the pitch in the 70th minute, and the team did not give up a single goal. Preseason is not a reflection of how the team will perform in 2022, but it sure does give some confidence that 2022 could be better than 2021.

Also, good news: It is an entirely different team from the the 2021 edition. Last year, KC went 1-3 in the Challenge Cup, giving us a glimpse of a rough start to the year. But Kansas City spent much of 2021 rebuilding, making trades and acquiring two major players in the offseason, Lynn Williams and Mewis, and if these two players are in top form, it is going to be good for Kansas City. There’s hope that this year’s team will be more competitive in the Challenge Cup, and it is already a favorite to win the central region.

The game against Louisville be telling, and it will be a first true glimpse of a team rebuilt to be more competitive, giving fans a new hope as 2022 begins.