Aug 26, 2021 12:04 PM

Hamilton scores game winner; Franch comes up huge for KC NWSL

Posted Aug 26, 2021 12:04 PM
<b>KC NWSL's Adrianna Franch.</b> Photo courtesy&nbsp;NWSL / ISI Photos
KC NWSL's Adrianna Franch. Photo courtesy NWSL / ISI Photos

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City NWSL returned to Legends Field and picked up a 2-1 victory against Racing Louisville for their second-straight win at home.

It was all Kansas City in the first half when they found an own goal on a cross from forward Kristen Hamilton into the box and then a breakaway goal in the 40th minute from Hamilton, assisted by forward Hailie Mace, to put Kansas City up 2-0 at half.

Newly acquired goalkeeper Adrianna Franch came up huge for Kansas City in goal with one save and seven shots faced. It was her first win and start for the club since she returned to her home state of Kansas to join the team last week.

Head Coach Huw Williams stated after the game that he was proud of Hamilton and her play, and he never feels that he needs to motivate her even on big nights like this one. “There’s no need to motivate Kristen individually. She is one of those players that is very motivated and driven.”

Wednesday’s match marked a special milestone for Hamilton – her 100th appearance in the NWSL. She did not know she had reached the century mark until she saw it on the videoboard before the match, saying, “I had no idea, but just what is special to me is just being around the league for so long and seeing the growth that has already come and it’s exciting to see what the future holds.”

Kansas City brought the pressure in the first six minutes of play when midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta slotted a pass to Hamilton running into the box. Her shot was on target but Louisville goalkeeper Michele Betos was able to get the stop. Just about 30 seconds later, defender Mallory Weber caused Betos to make a diving save that was barely knocked out of action. Mace then found herself on a breakaway in the 14th minute of play and slotted the ball near post, but Betos again was able to knock it out of play for a corner kick.

Kansas City finally capitalized on their dangerous chances in the 18th minute of play when Hamilton crossed the ball into the box from the right flank. As the pass was headed to midfielder Victoria Pickett for the tap-in, a Louisville defender stepped in front and deflected the ball past Betos to put Kansas City up one.

In the 40th minute Kansas City brought more excitement to the home crowd when Mace slipped a pass to Hamilton breakaway. The veteran forward tucked home her shot low to the  right corner for her first goal in Kansas City. Hamilton was dangerous the entire game, and had four shot attempts, with three finding the target.

Kansas City continued to make dangerous runs into the attack and found three early shots in the second half. Although things seemed to be going to Kansas City’s way, Louisville’s Nadia Nadim found an opening in the 64th minute to slip CeCe Kizer, an Overland Park, Kansas native, a pass right into the box that she one-timed it into goal.

Kansas City was able to shut down Racing Louisville for the remaining 30 minutes, preserving the 2-1 victory. The win puts Kansas City on a two-match home win streak.

Kansas City will now hope to take this winning momentum on the road as they travel to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT. versus the Chicago Red Stars. The match will air exclusively world-wide on Twitch.