Match: Kansas City Current (6-4-4, 22 pts) at North Carolina Courage (2-5-4, 11 pts)
When: Saturday, August 13th at 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: WakeMed Soccer Park - Cary, North Carolina
The Kansas City Current (6-4-4, 22 pts) are on the road to face the North Carolina Courage (2-5-4, 11 pts) Saturday evening. The Current are on a nine-game unbeaten streak, winning four of their last five and six of their last nine.
Since May 26 (the last Current loss), the Current have:
· 21 points (1st in NWSL since May 26)
· 6 wins (1st in NWSL since May 26)
· .833 Win Percentage (1st in NWSL since May 26)
· 8 Goals Allowed (Least in NWSL since May 26)
· 4 shutouts (Tied for 2nd in NWSL since May 26)
Ever since beating Kansas City in the semifinals and then winning the Challenge Cup over the Washington Spirit, North Carolina has struggled. The Courage are winless at home (0-3-1) and breaking even on the road (2-2-3). North Carolina has been squeaking out draws with the last three ending level on points.
Current quelled the Wave
Kansas City traveled to first place San Diego in their last match and came away with all three points. In what was perhaps their best half of the season, the Current scored twice and didn’t allow any chances on goal by the Wave. League leading scorer Alex Morgan has been having a standout season but was marked out of the game for most of the match.
The Wave did not subside without a fight though, scoring a late goal to add a ripple in the pool to make it interesting for a short time.
“The parity in the league is obvious, teams that are losing in the last ten minutes seem to find ways to get back into the game,” KC Current head coach observed. “There is never enough goals if you are in the lead and you have to expect you are going to have some defending moments if you are ahead.”
Overall, coach Potter seemed pleased with the effort but will never rest in his attempt to keep the team improving.
“The overall picture from afar is that was a complete half obviously to go in two to zero up. As coaches we found some things, we needed to continue to evolve in that were specific to individuals and the collective. For us, we are always going to be about finding what we can do, finding the strengths in the group and that was clearly on display over the 90 minutes to be honest. The first half is indicative of how we want to evolve as a team and then hope to translate that into a 90-minute performance in the future,” Potter explained.
Coach thoughts on the opponent
“Really challenging, obviously we expect Debinha and Kerolin to play a part,” Potter told media. “They are back from their qualifiers so congrats to them for qualifying. They’ve been home now in the Unites States for a couple weeks, so they are probably as fresh as they’ve been. Kerolin is very much the dominating force when they play at home, so we expect a real challenge to be perfectly honest. The structure they play out of, the system they play out of aren’t atypical so we will have to adjust but they are going to have to adjust to us.”
The two teams met in the semifinals of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup and the Courage came away victorious with goals by Debinha and Kerolin off of a penalty kick and a bad turnover by the Current in the rain.
“Towards the latter, part of the game, we were the aggressor. We were disappointed with the goals that we gave up, but when you watch the game back, now I’m sure Sean (Nahas) would say the same thing about his team. We’re such a different team now because of the continuity, because of the consistency, because of the time we’ve spent together. So for us, I’m really intrigued to see what happens because it’s an interesting matchup.”
“They are super Dynamic, very creative, very possession orientated, they’re at home. So there’s like tick the box, tick the box, tick the box,” Potter added laughing. “There’s lots that we’re going to have to adjust to but even this morning we talked about what would they be thinking they’re going to have to adjust to for us? So it’s basically who can live out their identity the most.”
Is it which team can make the other more uncomfortable?
“Yeah, that’s part of the messaging I think,” Potter agreed. “If we can be better at being us than they are at being them, then it’s going to be a good night for us. But what I really liked about the performance against San Diego, was the maturity of the performance. It didn’t matter what they did, it didn’t matter when they tried to do it, it didn’t matter how they try to do it. We had a solution for it and we were very confident in our own way of being us in possession.”
Jaycie Johnson (right leg)
Chloe Logarzo (right leg)
Sam Mewis (SEI – right leg)
Mallory Weber (SEI – right leg)
Lynn Williams (SEI – right leg)
Notes: Australian international Chloe Logarzo is still listed as out but is looking pretty good in training and could be off the injury report in the near future.
Valerie Gauvin (excused absence)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City forward Elyse Bennett – Bennett now has three goals and two assists and proves to be a handful for every defender she faces.
Kansas City forward Cece Kizer – Kizer has scored in three of her last four and the Current have not lost since acquiring the Kansas City native in trade from Louisville.
North Carolina forward Diana Ordoñez – The Mexican national team forward has been on fire, scoring a brace in each of her last two outings and five in the last three. She is now third (7 goals) in NWSL behind co-leaders Alex Morgan and Sophia Smith with 11 goals each.