Preview: Kansas City Current (a).
Updated: Jul 31
When? Sunday July 31, 4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET and midnight BST (1/8).
Where? Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, MO.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on Paramount+ for residents of the United States and on Twitch for international supporters.
The Pride head to the Kansas City Current bouyed by their recent upturn in form. Doubts still hangover the club and will continue to do so, until the situation involving the management team and the NWSLPA joint investigation reaches its climax. But there's no denying the feeling of positivity that's around the place just now.
Still, all that being said, Seb Hines has managed to oversee an uptick in performances in recent weeks. They'll be hoping to continue their recent good form against a KC side that's been in fine form over recent game weeks. This will be a tough test for the Pride.
Kansas City's style
Kansas City have been on a real resurgence of late, thanks in no small part to their switch to a 3-1-4-2 formation, which has allowed them to attack games without compromising their defensive structure. Alex Loera has provided energy and an ability to disrupt opposition attackers (figure 1), whilst the likes of Kristen Edmonds and Addisyn Merrick allow the team to build from the back, pushing up as the wide centre-backs in their back 3 system.
The system provides the likes of Lo'eau LaBonta (3 goals, 2 assists) to get forward in support of the impressive front 2 of Kristen Hamilton and Cece Kizer. The 2 have registered 9 goal contributions (figures 2 & 3) between them, through 12 NWSL games. The Current have goals in them. All whilst having one of the better defences in the division (1.2 goals conceded per game, with 4 clean sheets). This will be a tough test for Orlando.
Figure 1 shows some of Alex Loera's key defensive statistics on the season so far.
Figure 2 shows the number of goals scored by Hamilton and Kizer so far.
Figure 3 shows the number of assists by Kizer so far.
Kansas City Current are set to be without Chloe Lagarzzo and Sam Mewis, as well as Lynn Williams and Mallory Weber who are both on the season ending injury list.
As for the Orlando Pride, Gunny Jónsdóttir has reported back to training following her run at Euro 2022. Haley Bugeja is training with the team, though Seb Hines has said it's too early to determine if she's ready for match action. Carrie Lawrence has returned from Covid protocols. Leah Pruitt and Parker Roberts are still out. Marta remains on the season ending injury list, though is ramping up her recovery process.
Edit 7/31, Darian Jenkins has been added to the injury report and is listed as questionable.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
They've been using a variation of the 3-1-4-2 formation, which has been relatively successful for them. With them being the home team, and coming off of a decent rest period, I think they'll name an unchanged XI:
Edmonds might not have the scoring and assisting numbers some NWSL defenders post, having failed to get off the mark in either category for 2022, but don't let that fool you. She's a key player for this team, especially on the defensive end. So far this season she's completed 21 interceptions, 26 clearances and 21 tackles at a success rate of 70%. Her leadership and defensive capabilities make her a mainstay of this Current side.
The Current are flying right now; having won 5 of their last 7 games. Their recent run has lifted them to 5th in the table, with a 5-3-4 record that looks set to seal them a play-off spot.
The Pride have been in decent form themselves, unbeaten in 3 since their disastrous loss to Portland. The Pride are 8th with a 3-4-5 record.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando Pride.
Top player image credit Imagn.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com