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Preview: KC Current at Racing Louisville to open 2022 Challence Cup

Both teams have a lot of new faces for the 2022 season

Coach Potter and Lynn Williams are two of the new faces for the Current
Thad Bell

“We are excited for the next part of the journey which is to go play some games. We’ve got to this point where we have been building our identity on and off the field and we are ready to go play someone else now.” – KC Current Head Coach Matt Potter

The Kansas City Current travels to Racing Louisville to kick off the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Kansas City and Louisville have a lot of similarities, expansion teams in 2021, new coaches and revamped rosters all around.

After a relatively strong finish last season, the Current added a pair of US internationals (Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams), hired Matt Potter as the new head coach and signed several draft picks.

Williams and Mewis both came from North Carolina in the off season, joining former teammates Kristen Hamilton and Hailie Mace. The Courage went to three straight NWSL Championships while winning the Shields in 2017-2019 and won the NWSL Cup in 2018 and 2019.

With that history of success in their past, for both club and country, they can be expected to help lead the Current to success, but it will not be easy.

“It’s a new group and I’m excited to get out there and see how this group comes together,” forward Lynn Williams stated. “In North Carolina it was very successful but that took a lot of time to get to that point, it didn’t happen overnight.”

“I think this team has a lot of potential to get there and going into Louisville we are going to be a hard team to beat,” Williams continued. “We have a lot of good pieces and a hungry group but it is a very new team so just building those relationships, those are going to take some time. We are going to have to go through some growing pains. Hopefully we go through the pains while winning.”

Louisville has changed over half their roster, adding World Cup winner Jess McDonald and the two-time MAC Hermann trophy winner Jaelin Howell. They hired new head coach Kim Björkegren to lead the renovated Racing side.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kansas City Current: Forward Lynn Williams - The talented forward can score. Williams was the 2016 NWSL MVP, 2016 Golden Boot winner, and ranks second-all time in NWSL career goals and assists. She is also a regular on the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Forward Kristen Hamilton - Pairing up with former Courage teammate could make them a dangerous combination.

Defender Alex Loera - The rookie defender can play several spots and could be a regular starter right from the beginning of the year.

Racing Louisville FC: Forward Jess McDonald - Another talented player that was in North Carolina. McDonald ranks first all-time in regular season NWSL assists (27) and fourth in goals (51). The question will be if she can keep up that scoring prowess on a team with a little less talent around her.

Midfielder Jaelin Howell - With 90 career Florida State appearances, 14 goals and as many assists, Howell earned back-to-back ACC Midfielder of the Year awards. Howell also won the Hermann Trophy in consecutive years. The rookie has also been capped twice by the US Women’s National Team.

Availability:

KANSAS CITY CURRENT

OUT:Jaycie Johnson (thigh), Mallory Weber (thigh)

QUESTIONABLE:Taylor Leach (concussion)

RACING LOUISVILLE FC

OUT:Nadia Nadim (right leg)

Possible lineup:

Extremely hard to predict at this point and with coach Potter keeping all information close to the vest this is a guess...

Franch

Edmonds, Loera, Leach, Mace

Scott, Pickett, LaBonta, Mewis

Williams, Hamilton

Also read:

Roster preview

Challenge Cup Roster Set

HOW TO WATCH

Racing Louisville FC vs Kansas City Current

Friday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. CT

Lynn Family Stadium

Stream on Paramount+