Kansas City Current Secures First-Ever NWSL Playoffs Appearance with Dominant Win over Washington
KANSAS CITY - For the first time in franchise history, the Kansas City Current (10-5-6, 36pts, 3rd place) clinched a spot in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) postseason, marking another milestone in one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in league history. The Current solidified its postseason status with a 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit (3-8-10, 19pts, 10th place) at Children's Mercy Park Sunday afternoon.
A dominant first half provided more than enough cushion to secure the victory. Midfielder Lo'eau LaBonta opened the scoring with a rocket from outside the penalty area in the 18th minute, and forward Cece Kizer doubled the Current's advantage in the 38th minute. Forward Claire Lavogez bookended the half with a goal in the 41st minute, her second as a member of the Current, to round out the scoring.
"The night belongs to the players," said head coach Matt Potter. "The way they went about the game tonight with some additional pressure with results that had gone certain ways and they came out and played in a manner that was just fun to see and fun to watch."
Despite Kansas City's dominance in the contest, Washington nearly stunned the hosts with a goal inside the opening 10 minutes. In the seventh minute, Spirit midfielder Bayley Feist ripped a curling shot from distance that was heading for the top left corner. However, Current goalkeeper AD Franch made a diving stop, stretching to deflect the effort away. Feist's effort was the most significant action Franch faced in Sunday's contest, but Franch did rack up three saves in the 41st shutout victory of her NWSL career.
Feist's shot was about as close as Washington came to scoring in the opening 45 minutes. Kansas City turned up the pressure after the early warning shot and began taking over the match. After two early opportunities by Kizer, Lavogez nearly opened the scoring after picking off a pass from Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury in the 16th minute. Lavogez's effort was denied by Kingsbury and the match remained scoreless, but not for much longer.
Minutes later, Kansas City defender Kate Del Fava raced down the right flank and hit an angled cross back to the top of the penalty area. The ball fell straight to a wide-open LaBonta, who settled the ball and unleashed a rocket that soared past Kingsbury and into the back of the net. The goal marked LaBonta's seventh goal of the regular season, which temporarily placed her in sole possession of the Current's franchise record for goals in a season.
In the 38th minute, after the team had two goals called back for offside, Kizer joined LaBonta atop that list. In a sequence that began with a Current corner kick, rookie defender Alex Loera served in a second-chance ball that was whipped perfectly toward the near post. Kizer steered the ball home with her thigh to double Kansas City's advantage.
Lavogez tripled the Current's lead three minutes later with another well-worked goal. Forward Kristen Hamilton drove down the left side of Washington's defense and slid a ball across the penalty area from the endline. Lavogez was left unmarked and slotted the ball home to extend Kansas City's lead to 3-0, which stood until halftime. The Spirit subbed on a trio of attackers as the second half began to try and launch a comeback, but Kansas City's rock-solid defense helped preserve the 3-0 victory over the final 45 minutes.
The Current officially secured its first-ever NWSL playoff appearance with Sunday's win, though there's plenty to sort out in the final week of the regular season. Kansas City will look to improve its place in the league table and potentially earn a first-round bye in its final match of the regular season Saturday, Oct. 1 against Racing Louisville at 6:30 p.m. CT.
For up-to-the-minute information on the Current's postseason schedule and ticketing information for potential home playoff matches visit kansascitycurrent.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Kansas City Current vs. Washington Spirit
Date: September 25, 2022
Venue: Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Kickoff: 4:07 p.m. CT
Weather: 80 degrees, sunny
8' Washington - Roddar (yellow)
27' Washington - Staab (yellow)
18' Kansas City - LaBonta (Del Fava)
38' Kansas City - Kizer (Loera)
41' Kansas City - Lavogez (Hamilton)
Goals 1 2 F
Kansas City 3 0 3
Washington 0 0 0
Kansas City: Franch, Edmonds, Ball, Loera, Scott, LaBonta, Lavogez (79' Merrick), Kizer (87' Bennett), Hamiliton, Mace, Del Fava
Substitutes Not Used: Curran, Leach, Logarzo, McCain, Miller, Rodriguez, Winebrenner
Washington: Kingsbury, Heilferty (45' Biegalski), Staab, Brooks, Hatch, Feist, Bailey, Sullivan (45' Rodman), Baggett (45' Sanchez), McKeown (74' Sheva), Roddar (87' Rodriguez)
Substitutes Not Used: Aylmer, Elwell, Kerr, Vincent
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