KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas City Current (5-4-4, 19pts, 6th place) begin August with a pivotal road battle against league-leading San Diego Wave FC (7-3-4, 25pts, 1st place) on Sunday at 4 p.m. CT.
Sunday’s match will stream nationally on Paramount+ and be broadcast locally on KMCI, 38 the Spot.
Kansas City carries the second-longest unbeaten streak in the entire NWSL heading into Sunday’s match. The Current had to battle back from a 2-0 second-half deficit to draw 2-2 with the Orlando Pride on July 31. After the Pride took a two-goal lead in the 46th minute, Current forward Elyse Bennett scored in the 57th minute to cut the Pride’s lead to 2-1. In the 82nd minute, forward Cece Kizer chipped Orlando’s goalkeeper and slotted the ball into an empty net to tie the match at 2-2. The draw extended the Current’s franchise-best unbeaten streak to eight matches.
San Diego also enters Sunday’s match on a tear, with the expansion side having lost just one match in the last two months. Most recently, the Wave downed the Chicago Red Stars 1-0 on July 30. 17-year-old midfielder Jaedyn Shaw scored the contest’s lone goal in the 28th minute, becoming the youngest player to score on an NWSL debut in league history in the process. The Wave weathered 20 total Chicago shots in the shutout victory.
‘THE DESTROYER’ RETURNS
The Current received a massive midfield boost against Orlando, as team captain Desiree Scott made her first appearance for the club since June 18. Scott had been competing in the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship with Canada and guided the team to a second-place finish, with Canada narrowly falling to the United States in the Gold Medal Match.
Scott started all five of Canada’s matches and logged 363 minutes. Despite finishing the tournament in second place, Scott and Canada did secure automatic qualification for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.
Scott started and played 74 minutes for the Current in Sunday’s match and supplied her always-steady defensive presence in the middle of the park. Having played the fourth-most minutes of any Kansas City player in 2022, Scott could feature heavily down the stretch as the Current push for their first-ever playoff berth.
Rookie defender Jenna Winebrenner also made her first appearance for the Current in over a month after suffering an injury on June 4. Winebrenner, who made her eighth appearance of the regular season on Sunday against Orlando, came on for the final 12 minutes of the contest.
Stepping up in crucial moments has become commonplace for Kizer since her arrival in Kansas City on June 9.
Her first Current goal came in just her second appearance, lacing a long-range shot that drew Kansas City level with the Chicago Red Stars on June 18. Kizer’s goal helped the Current extend their unbeaten streak at the time to four matches, and she’s continued her impressive run of form from there.
Kizer recorded what stood as the game-winning assist in the team’s 2-1 win over the Houston Dash on July 1, then scored the game-winning goal in the Current’s 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit on July 10. Her impressive finish to level last Sunday’s match against Orlando stood as her third game-tying or go-ahead goal this season, all of which have come during the team’s ongoing eight-match unbeaten streak.
LEAGUE ON NOTICE
The Current’s eight-match unbeaten streak officially lasted through July with Kansas City’s 2-2 draw with Orlando. Thanks to the Current’s ascent up the NWSL table, the league is taking notice of the impressive season that several Current players are having.
For the first time in club history, Kansas City had four players selected to July’s NWSL Team of the Month. Goalkeeper AD Franch, who recorded two shutouts and had a win-preserving penalty kick save against Washington, led the way as the league’s top goalkeeper of the month. The selection marked Franch’s third team of the month nod in her decorated NWSL career.
Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta recorded her second-ever appearance in an NWSL Team of the Month with her inclusion in July’s XI. LaBonta scored twice in July and provided the game-tying assist to Kizer’s goal against Orlando last Sunday. Midfielder Hailie Mace and defender Kristen Edmonds rounded out the Current players honored, with both earning their first NWSL Team of the Month selection. The Current’s four representatives in July’s NWSL Team of the Month was the highest mark in the league, and Kansas City was one of three teams to have multiple nominees.