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Preview: KC Current host Chicago Red Stars with semifinal spot on the line

Kansas City will try to hand Chicago their second loss of the Challenge Cup

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Thad Bell

The Kansas City Current finishes out the group stage of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup at home against the Chicago Red Stars at 4 p.m. CT today at Children’s Mercy Park. The Current (3-1-1, 10 points) are in first in the Central Division while Chicago (2-1-2, 8 points) are in second place. If the Current win or draw, they advance to NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinals.

“Chicago is a really talented team, they got to the final last year for a reason,” Current head coach Matt Potter explained. “They are good. The quality of the individual players is obvious, but their collective has the ability to highlight the right people in the right places. We will have to be at our best if want to continue to progress in the manner that we do.”

This will be the second meeting between the two clubs in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. Kansas City won the first round in Chicago, giving the Red Stars their only loss in the tournament. Vanessa DiBernardo put the Red Stars on top but second half goals by Hailie Mace and Kristen Hamilton secured the win for the Current on March 25th.

Availability

Kansas City

OUT:

  • Chloe Logarzo (right leg)
  • Hailie Mace (right leg)
  • Sam Mewis (right leg)
  • Lynn Williams (SEI – right leg)

Mace has been one of the Current’s standouts in 2022 with a goal and two assists and blazing speed at left back and will be missed but should be returning to practice soon. Samantha Mewis has been training in a limited fashion and could be available in the near future as well.

Chicago

OUT:

  • Ava Cook (yellow card accumulation)
  • Tierna Davidson (right knee)
  • Morgan Gautrat (left calf)
  • Rachel Hill (left hip)
  • Casey Krueger (maternity leave)
  • Mallory Pugh (concussion)
  • Kealia Watt (right knee)
  • Sarah Woldmoe (maternity leave)

Chicago is missing a number of talented players but perhaps no more impactful as Mallory Pugh with her four goals and skill.

Players to watch:

Current leading scorer Kristen Hamilton is always key for Kansas City and the return of talented Canadian midfielder Victoria Pickett should provide a boost of offense. With the injuries Elyse Bennett has been able to show her ability to threaten the opposing backline and create opportunities for teammates.

Red Stars mid Vanessa DiBernardo will be counted on for some offense with Pugh out and veteran keeper Alyssa Naeher could make it hard for Kansas City to break through.

Ways to watch: In the United States the match can be watched on CBS and Paramount+ while fans in Canada and abroad will be able to watch on Twitch.