Kansas City Current Moves atop NWSL Table with Shutout Victory over NJ/NY Gotham
HARRISON, NJ - The Kansas City Current (9-4-5, 32pts, 1st place) began a stretch of three matches in seven days on Sunday with a 1-0 road triumph over NJ/NY Gotham (4-14-0, 12pts, 12th place). A 78th minute penalty kick from Current defender Hailie Mace was the difference as Kansas City extended its ongoing unbeaten streak to 13 matches. Forward Claire Lavogez won the foul that led to Mace's spot kick.
Sunday proved to be a historic day for a variety of reasons for the Current. The win moved Kansas City into first place in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) for the first time in club history, and goalkeeper AD Franch picked up the 40th shutout of her NWSL career. Franch is only the second player in NWSL history to reach that mark, which marked the fourth clean sheet that Franch has kept in the 2022 regular season.
"I couldn't be prouder of (AD), especially in the manner of how she got the shutout this evening," said head coach Matt Potter. "I thought she did, on a tough occasion, a tough evening, the simple things well and allowed us to have that tower of strength behind our group of field players. That just speaks to who she is and we're very fortunate to have her as a part of our group."
Kansas City nearly opened the scoring in the opening seconds of the match. Mace whipped in a dangerous cross to the back post that eventually fell to Current defender Kate Del Fava in front of goal. Del Fava was unable to steer the ball in as Gotham goalkeeper Michelle Betos did just enough to keep the ball out of the back of the net. Betos had to resort to similar goal-line heroics in the 25th minute following a dangerous cross from midfielder Lo'eau LaBonta that bounced around in the goal box.
Gotham generated plenty of early offense as well, testing Kansas City's back line on multiple occasions. Gotham forward Taylor Smith sent multiple shots at Franch in the opening 45 minutes, but Franch was up to the task on each occasion. The Current closed a first half that featured eight shots from the visitors with a dangerous effort from Del Fava that sailed high in the 44th minute, but the sides entered the locker room deadlocked at 0-0.
The Current failed to score in the 58th minute due to more Gotham defensive efforts. Forward Kristen Hamilton slid a ball through to Lavogez in the penalty area, and the French international's cross from the end line was arching over Betos and into the back of the net. However, Betos stretched to tip Lavogez's effort away from the goal, followed by Gotham forward Paige Monaghan clearing the ball off the goal line to keep the match scoreless.
Kansas City finally broke through with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Lavogez raced through Gotham's defense and was pulled down in the penalty area by Gotham defender Ellie Jean to win a penalty kick. With LaBonta, Kansas City's regular penalty kick taker, out of the match, Mace stepped up to the spot and slotted the ball in the top left corner to give the Current the lead. Mace's third goal of the 2022 regular season stood as the match winner, which capped a performance where she recorded four total shots and two shots on goal.
Franch made one more incredible save to preserve the Current's 1-0 victory. In the 80th minute, Gotham midfielder Kristie Mewis fired a shot on goal from the top left corner of the penalty box. Franch stretched to tip the ball off the crossbar and Kansas City eventually cleared the ball away. She recorded three saves in the win as the Current saw out the one-goal victory.
The Current remain on the road next week for a mid-week matchup against the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. CT. Kansas City then returns to Children's Mercy Park Sunday, Sept. 18 against the Portland Thorns.
Tickets are available for all home matches at Children's Mercy Park, along with deposits for 2023 Season Tickets. For pricing and information visit KansasCityCurrent.com.
Match: NJ/NY Gotham vs. Kansas City Current
Date: September 11, 2022
Venue: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
Kickoff: 6:06 p.m. ET, 5:06 p.m. CT
Weather: 69 degrees, rain
2' Kansas City - Merrick (yellow)
78' Kansas City - Mace (PK)
Goals 1 2 F
Gotham 0 0 0
Kansas City 0 1 1
Gotham: Betos, Johnson (58' Jean), Krieger, Freeman, Onumonu (73' Dorsey), Kawasumi (84' Sheehan), Monaghan, Mewis, Zerboni, Pickett, Smith
Substitutes Not Used: Baxter, Bike, Hancuff, Torres, Tucker, Yokoyama
Kansas City: Franch, Edmonds, Ball, Merrick (86' Rodriguez), Scott (86' Leach), LaBonta (62' Curran), Kizer (62' Bennett), Hamilton, Lavogez (89' McCain), Mace, Del Fava
Substitutes Not Used: Logarzo, Miller, Schneider, Winebrenner
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