The Kansas City Current earned the team’s first regular season win with a 2-0 result over the Orlando Pride. This is the Current’s second consecutive win across all competitions, as the team also defeated the Houston Dash in 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup play earlier this week.
Of course, I’m really happy today about the win against Orlando,” said interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom. “We didn’t have that many practices to prepare for this game, but I think that the players followed the game plan today, 100%. So I’m really proud of our players, and of course all the game changers that came in the game as well.”
The Current came out strong in the first half, with several big chances throughout the first 45 minutes. In the 13th minute, defender Hailie Mace charged up the left-hand side and dodged around Pride defender Emily Madril. Her shot forced a diving save from Orlando goalkeeper Carly Nelson, who sent the rebound toward midfielder Cece Kizer. Kizer’s ensuing shot was pushed just out of bounds by the Orlando back line.
Kansas City was knocking on the door in the second half. The action kicked off just two minutes in, when midfielder Debinha raced past the Pride defense to find a perfectly placed ball from defender Kate Del Fava. The Brazilian was tackled at the edge of the box to stop the run.
In the 51st minute, the Current had two in a row. Rookie forward Michelle Cooper muscled past the Orlando defense to rip a shot from the top of the box. Orlando’s goalkeeper was in the right place at the right time to make an easy save. Just seconds later, Debinha intercepted the ball to lay off a quick pass to midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo. She quickly hit a left-footed shot that sailed toward goal but was scooped up by Nelson.
Kansas City did find the back of the net in the 64th minute, when defender Izzy Rodriguez forced high pressure on the Orlando goalkeeper. Nelson attempted to clear the ball out, but defender Hailie Mace intercepted the clearance at the edge of the box. She laid the ball off for Debinha, who charged past two Pride defenders and slid the ball into the far corner of the goal.
Just four minutes later, the Current did it again. It was another run down the left by Mace, who rushed past the Pride back line and sent a cross into the box. Kizer found it at the back post and tapped it in for her second goal of the season.
With two assists, Hailie Mace becomes the first Kansas City Current player to log multiple assists in one regular season match in club history. Goalkeeper Cassie Miller logged her second clean sheet in a row across all competitions, an impressive feat as she faced nine corner kicks from the Orlando Pride. She now has four career clean sheets with Kansas City across all competitions.
The Kansas City Current returns to action next weekend at home, facing NJ/NY Gotham FC on April 30 at 5 p.m. CT. Season tickets, flex plans and single match tickets are available for all home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. For pricing and information, visit kansascitycurrent.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Kansas City Current vs. Orlando Pride
Date: April 23, 2023
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS
Kickoff: 4:07 p.m. CT
Weather: 52 degrees, partly cloudy
58’ Orlando – Watt (Yellow)
64’ Kansas City – Debinha (Mace)
68’ Kansas City – Kizer (Mace)
Kansas City Current Lineup: Miller, Robinson, Soto, Merrick, Mace (90’ Childers), DiBernardo (90’ Curran), LaBonta ©, Del Fava, Kizer (75’ Larsson), Cooper (63’ Rodriguez), Debinha (90’ Spaanstra)
Unused Substitutes: Franch, Silkowitz
Orlando Pride Lineup: Nelson, Strom, Cosme, Montefusco, Madril, McCutcheon (84’ Martinez), Villacorta (84’ Cluff), Listro (69’ Tymrak), Adriana, Marta © (60’ Bright), Watt (84’ Yates)
Unused Substitutes: Anna Moorhouse, Tori Hansen, Maliah Morris