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KC Current lose Challenge Cup semifinal

A 2-1 loss versus the North Carolina Courage ends Challenge Cup title hopes for the KC Current.

NWSL: North Carolina Courage at Kansas City Current Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Current hosted the club’s first-ever playoff match against the North Carolina Courage on a rainy Wednesday night. Hoping to bounce back from their season opening loss at Portland, the Current returned to Children’s Mercy Park, looking to clinch a spot in the tournament’s final on Saturday.

How they lined up

After resting players like Desiree Scott and Kristen Hamilton, head coach Matt Potter returned to a stronger lineup in a 3-5-2 formation. Hallie Mace, after missing a month of play, was available off the bench.

How the game went

Kansas City would begin with a better run of play and possession, but the final touch in the final third would be a struggle, either through blocks or just missed opportunities. Like an Elyse Bennett left-footed shot from the left side of the box being blocked in the 17the minute.

But an unlucky handball in the box by Jenna Winebrenner would lead to a PK for North Carolina. Debinha converted a shot to the high center of the goal, not giving GK AD Franch a chance to guess correctly for a spot.

Kansas City continued with the press, with no luck to score the tying the goal. North Carolina’s Kerolin continued to be a playmaker for the Courage, giving Winebrenner issues in defending, and helped, ultimately in creating the second goal.

Down 2-0, Kansas City made changes for the start of the second half, bringing in Hallie Mace for Izzy Rodriguez and Lo LaBonta for Winebrenner, hoping to change the tempo of the game.

It wasn’t until the 79’ minute that the Current would find a break. Kristen Hamilton, who was the constant offensive pressure for KC, would have a close range shot for a goal, making it 2-1.

With time nearing the end, the Current attempted to get that equalizer, but the final shots taken would not be on KC’s side. The Courage would advance to the 2022 Challenge Cup Final versus the Washington Spirit.

The Current can now focus entirely on the season and prepare to host the Houston Dash for their home opener on Sunday at Children’s Mercy Park at 4pm.