Kansas City NWSL Returns to Legends Field to Face Undefeated Orlando Pride
KANSAS CITY - Kansas City NWSL's stretch of three games in one week continues Wednesday afternoon as the team welcomes the Orlando Pride to Legends Field at 1 p.m. CT. League-leading Orlando (3-0-3) enters Wednesday's match as the only team to not suffer a defeat this season.
The Pride maintained their unblemished record in thrilling fashion last Sunday night when Orlando defender Courtney Petersen tied the game in the 90th minute against NJ/NY Gotham. Peterson found the late equalizer after firing a shot from the corner of the penalty box over the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the goal. Petersen's strike secured a 1-1 draw.
Kansas City (0-4-2), meanwhile, was unable to break through in a 1-0 road loss to the Portland Thorns on Sunday. The visitors withstood a relentless Thorns attack that fired 20 total shots on Kansas City's goal. Goalkeeper Abby Smith turned in an impressive performance to keep Portland at bay, with five total saves including a saved penalty kick from Thorns forward Christine Sinclair in the first half. However, the Thorns broke through Smith and Kansas City's defense in first-half stoppage time, and despite a quality second-half performance Kansas City ultimately couldn't find an equalizer.
This is the second meeting between Kansas City and Orlando this year, with the first coming on May 30 in Orlando, Florida. The Pride defeated Kansas City in a 1-0 decision, buoyed by a controversial score from forward Alex Morgan in the 16th minute that the referees determined had just crossed over the goal line before Smith was able to swat it out of the goal.
Morgan had a chance to double Orlando's lead in the 66th minute after the Pride were awarded a penalty kick, but her effort struck the post. While dominating possession, Kansas City was able to create several quality opportunities. Second-half chances from forward Mallory Weber and midfielder Gaby Vincent were unable to be capitalized, and the Pride held on for the one-goal victory.
KC READY TO GET BACK TO FORM
On the national broadcast of last Sunday's game against Portland, Kansas City NWSL head coach Huw Williams said that selecting a starting 11 was difficult - in a good way. For starters, Kansas City welcomed back midfielders Lo'eau LaBonta and Chloe Logarzo to the fold after both missed time with injury. Logarzo entered the match in the 64th minute, marking the Australian international's regular-season debut for Kansas City. LaBonta made her second regular-season appearance in Portland, starting and playing in the first 45 minutes.
In addition, Kansas City welcomed back forward Jéssica Silva and midfielders Desiree Scott, Victoria Pickett, and Jordyn Listro back from international duty. Silva and Pickett appeared off the bench against the Thorns, while Scott started, playing 64 minutes before being replaced by Logarzo.
Finally, Kansas City welcomes back defender Rachel Corsie to the lineup on Wednesday. Corsie missed Sunday's match due to her international obligations as captain of the Scottish National Team.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas City NWSL: Goalkeeper Abby Smith - Another week, another potent offense that Smith and Kansas City's back line will be tasked with slowing down. Smith will no doubt be up for the challenge of facing attacking talents like Morgan, Marta and forward Sydney Leroux, especially given her heroic performance against the Thorns. Smith has appeared in three games in the regular season and is averaging four saves per contest while only allowing three goals. Following Sunday's game, Kansas City captain Amy Rodriguez commented that Smith was the team's 'MVP' in the match.
Orlando Pride: Midfielder Marta - The 35-year-old Brazilian international is still in top form for Orlando, evident by her recent selection to Brazil's Olympic soccer roster for the fifth time in her storied career. Despite having not yet found the scoresheet in the 2021 regular season Marta has had an immeasurable impact on Orlando's attack, with two critical assists in the Pride's last two games. In Orlando's 1-1 draw with Washington on June 6, Marta set up midfielder Taylor Kornieck for what proved to be the equalizer. Last Sunday against NJ/NY Gotham FC, Marta assisted Petersen's game-tying strike. With two assists in her last two matches, Marta figures to play an important part of Orlando's attack.
WEDNESDAY'S MATCH KICKS OFF A WEEK-LONG CELEBRATION OF KANSAS CITY SOCCER
Wednesday's special afternoon kickoff comes on Kids' Day at Legends Field. Families are encouraged to come check out KC NWSL while also taking in all the child-friendly amenities that Legends Field offers. Tickets for Wednesday's match start at just $10 for kids aged 12 and under. More information about the Kids' Day promotion can be found at kcwoso.com/tickets.
In addition, Wednesday marks the first of two instances this week where Kansas City NWSL and Sporting KC play home matches on the same day. Following Kansas City's 1:00 p.m. kickoff with the Pride, Sporting KC hosts the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. at nearby Children's Mercy Park. On Saturday, June 26, Kansas City NWSL's match against the Washington Spirit at 7:30 p.m. follows Sporting KC's battle with LAFC at 4:30 p.m. Both clubs offered fans a bundled ticket package with a co-branded scarf, while the promotional package sold out quickly for Saturday's double-header, there are a select few still available for Wednesday's contests.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
Wednesday's match will be streamed on Paramount +. In addition, the game will be broadcast on ESPN Kansas City 1510AM / 94.5 FM with Brad Porter and Aly Trost on the call.
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from June 22, 2021
- Kansas City NWSL Returns to Legends Field to Face Undefeated Orlando Pride - Kansas City
- Kendall Fletcher Signs Contract with NC Courage Through 2021 Season - North Carolina Courage
- What to Watch for with Racing vs. the NC Courage - Racing Louisville FC
- Orlando Pride Travels to Kansas City on Wednesday for Midweek Match - Orlando Pride
- Know Your Opponent: Kansas City - Orlando Pride
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