The Houston Dash are in the NWSL Playoffs for the first time in club history and they will host the Kansas City current as the opposition. We talked to Cindy Lara from The Blue Testament to get some insight on the Current.
Dynamo Theory (DT): The Current beat the Dash in 3 of 4 meetings this season (including the Challenge Cup) with two of those wins coming at PNC Stadium. Why does Kansas City match up so well with Houston that has allowed them to have success this year over the Dash?
The Blue Testament (TBT): There’s something about a KC/Houston matchup. Houston tends to be a more physical team, and the Current tend to respond well to that type of play, usually keeping their calm and not giving up until the final whistle. I think Houston’s style of play amps the team up, too. Kansas City also has a stronger midfield with players like Lo’eau LaBonta, Desiree Scott, and Hailie Mace.
DT: Kansas City had some big injuries this season, notably Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams being out for the season. Who has stepped up for the Current this year to help lead this team to a playoff appearance?
TBT: It’s been a team effort, really, and every player has played a major role in the team’s success from strikers like Kristen Hamilton and Cece Kizer to the midfield leadership of Lo’eau LaBonta and Desiree Scott to Elizabeth Ball anchoring down the defense to goalkeeper Adrianna Franch coming up with major saves. Kansas City also has a lot of depth and can easily change the momentum by bringing in rookie forward Elyse Bennett or Izzy Rodriguez.
DT: Kansas City had a long unbeaten run during the summer months before stumbling a little down the stretch. What was the key to their string of success and how can they regain that form for the playoffs?
TBT: Much of the success can be attributed to head coach Matt Potter who is incredibly knowledgable about the game and tactics. He begins with a specific game plan, like starting in a 3-5-2 formation, but if things are not going according to plan, he changes it, and the players respond well and adapt to the change. The team built a winning culture where everyone played a major part, from the starters to the bench, and adopting a never-give-up attitude that had them coming back from deficits.
With the playoffs, Kansas City needs to continue that winning culture mentality they had during their unbeaten run, and every player be ready to play their part and enjoy playing the game. They play better when they’re having fun and executing the game plan.
DT: Who are some other Current players that Dash fans should look for on Sunday that could make a difference in the match and what is your lineup and score prediction?
TBT: Dash fans should definitely look for Cece Kizer. She’s been a major offensive threat amd ended the 2022 regular season with seven goals. Forward Kristen Hamilton, with six goals, is also a player to watch. She’s been a mainstay in the KC Current starting lineup since joining the team in 2021 via a trade with the North Carolina Courage.
Lineup: AD Franch (GK); Defenders - Alex Loera, Elizabeth Ball, Kristen Edmonds; Midfielders - Desiree Scott, Kate Del Fava, Claire Lavogez, Lo’eau LaBonta, Hailie Mace; Forwards - Cece Kizer, Kristen Hamilton
Score prediction: 2-1 KC
We want to thank Cindy and our friends at The Blue Testament for giving us some information about the Current. Best of luck this weekend!