Match: Chicago Red Stars (7-5-6, 27 pts) vs Kansas City Current (9-4-5, 32 pts)
When: Wednesday, Sept. 14th at 7 p.m. CT
Where: Seatgeek Stadium – Bridgeview, Illinois
Watch: Paramount +
The first place Kansas City Current (9-4-5, 32 pts) stay on the road to visit the Chicago Red Stars (7-5-6, 27 pts). The Current extended their unbeaten streak to 13 with a 1-0 win over NY/NJ Gotham FC on Sunday but do not have much time to rest with a quick turnaround to face the sixth-place Red Stars as they battle to stay in that last playoff spot.
The Current have nine wins and four draws in their last thirteen matches and have scored at least once in each game, the longest active streak in the league. The Red Stars have three wins in their last nine (3-4-2), with none of their victories against a playoff-contending team.
Last Meeting: When these two teams met in mid-June, they fought to a 2-2 draw. It was a relatively even match with Kansas City taking the lead in the first half with a Kristen Hamilton goal. Chicago responded in the second half with goals from Amanda Kowalski and Mallory Pugh. Recently acquired CeCe Kizer leveled it up in the 68th minute with an assist from Elyse Bennett. It may have stayed in Kansas City’s favor but standout defender Elizabeth Ball was subbed out in the 25th minute with an injury. This was the fourth result in Kansas City’s unbeaten streak. The Current also beat the Red Stars twice in the NWSL Challenge Cup by a score of 2-1 both times.
Current jumped to first place after win in New York(ish)
Kansas City’s last match was against NY/NJ Gotham Courage and the Current came out with all three points at Red Bull Arena. With Lo Labonta subbed out, Hailie Mace stepped up to take a late penalty and secure the 1-0 win. It was not the Current’s best game but they proved they can grind out a result on a wet night in New Jersey.
Coach thoughts on the opponent
“Like any team they have their challenges, losing players as we and other teams have” Current head coach Matt Potter explained. “They are clearly still a talented team and are clearly driven by players that are exceptional. if not in the elite of the elite in the world game in their position. Whether it is Alyssa (Naeher) in goal, or Mal Pugh. She is a player that everyone talks about and rightly so, she’s probably a genuine MVP candidate. So talented, organized, very possession based. I’ve been a great admirer of Chris Petrucelli with respect to the way he plays and organizes his team.”
“We expect expecting a huge challenge, especially with them being at home and especially the team in the playoff hunt. The reality is now, we spent all season as the hunter and now we are a little bit the hunted. Now it’s a different emotion, a different scenario that we now find ourselves faced with,” Potter added.
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: N/A
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: N/A
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton — The Current have three players tied with six goals, but Hamilton is the one to watch. She has played the most minutes, only subbing off a couple of times but still running and going all out through stoppage time. If Kansas City needs a late goal, Hamilton is likely to step up in the needed moment.
Chicago Red Stars attacker Mallory Pugh — Pugh leads the Red Stars with eight goals and five assists and is fresh off of a good pair of games with the U.S. National team. Pugh is dangerous wherever she is lined up on the field and a potentially tired Current backline will have to keep an eye on the 24-year-old attacker.