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Preview: Kansas City Current host NC Courage in Challenge Cup semifinal

The first NWSL knockout game in Kansas City since 2015

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NWSL: Chicago Red Stars at Kansas City Current Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

“Anytime you get to be in a semifinal it’s an exciting moment,” Current head coach Matt Potter.

The Kansas City Current (#2 seed)host the North Carolina Courage (#3 seed) in the Challenge Cup semifinal tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT at Children’s Mercy Park. This is the first knockout match for the Current.

Both the Current and the Courage dropped their NWSL regular season openers. North Carolina fell 2-1 to expansion side Angel City FC while Kansas City fell 3-0 at Portland.

While this is the first knockout or playoff match for the Current, they do have a number of players that have experienced these types of matches. With national team players like Desiree Scott and Adrianna Franch, NWSL championships with Kristen Hamilton and Haillie Mace (both with North Carolina) and others n the NWSL and college.

The two teams are closely connected by trades and former players. The aforementioned Hamilton and Mace came from North Carolina via trade last season while Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams were acquired from the Courage in the offseason.

North Carolina also has four players with Kansas City connections. ties. Defender Kiki Pickett, goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland, Brittany Ratcliffe and defender Katie Bowen are a all familiar with the Current.

SCENARIOS

f the Current win, they will advance to the NWSL Challenge Cup Final May 7. The higher seeded semifinal winner will host the match.

If #2 KC Current win, #4 Washington Spirit win:

· KC Current to host Washington Spirit Saturday, May 7 at 12 p.m. CT at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Tickets to go on-sale Thursday, May 5 at Noon.

· KC Current’s 2022 NWSL Regular Season Home Opener May 8 vs. Houston Dash rescheduled to a TBD date.

If #2 KC Current win, #1 OL Reign win:

· OL Reign to host the Current Saturday, May 7 at 12 p.m. CT at Lumen Field in Seattle.

· KC Current’s 2022 NWSL Regular Season Home Opener May 8 vs. Houston Dash rescheduled to a TBD date.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kansas City Current: On the attack, veteran Kristen Hamilton has been the goalscoring threat with four while rookie Elyse Bennett has four assists and defender Hailie Mace has added a goal and an assist.

Defensively, having Mace back will be a big help with her speed and rookies Jenna Winebrenner, Isabel Rodriguez and Alexis Loera have all played a major part in protecting the goal.

North Carolina Courage: Brazilian midfielder Debinha also has four goals and is North Carolina’s most consistent threat. Defender Taylor Smith has added a pair of goal and an assist.

Defenders Abby Erceg and Kaleigh Kurtz have played all the of the Challenge Cup minutes for a good reason while Carson Pickett (if healthy), Jaelen Daniels and Merritt Mathias add to a tough defense.

Alex Loera has been tough on defense as rookie
Thad Bell

Availability

Kansas City:

Out:

Lynn Williams (R Leg - SEI)

Sam Mewis (R Leg)

Chloe Logarzo (R Leg)

Mallory Weber (R Leg)

Questionable:

None

NC Courage:

Out:

Casey Murphy (right knee)

Kiki Pickett (right knee)

Questionable:

Carson Pickett (right lower leg)

Havana Solaun (right knee)

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