Current return to home match tonight in KCK

Following a week-long break, the Kansas City Current (5-4-3, 18 pts., T-4th place) return to action at Children’s Mercy Park against the Orlando Pride (3-5-4, 13 pts., 8th place) at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 31.

The match will be streamed nationally on Paramount+ and broadcast locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

The Kansas City Current bring a seven-match unbeaten streak into Sunday’s match against the Pride, with the most recent positive result a 1-0 win over OL Reign July 17.

In a match that featured 36 combined shots, the Current were able to find a breakthrough in the 18th minute when midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta drilled a penalty kick into the top corner of the goal after a foul won by midfielder Victoria Pickett in the goal box.

Goalkeeper A.D. Franch recorded five saves in the win, including a diving save to her left on Reign forward Kim Little that earned her a second-straight Save of the Week award.

Orlando also brings an unbeaten streak into this match. The Pride are sitting on three games without a loss after earning a positive result in its most recent match. The Pride turned in a stout defensive performance in a 0-0 road draw with the Washington Spirit July 17. Orlando weathered 17 total shots from Washington, spurred on by five saves from goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

Current advancing in standings

Kansas City’s ongoing unbeaten streak has taken the club to previously unforeseen heights. The Current’s win over OL Reign improved the team’s point total to 18, which marks the highest single season point total in franchise history. The Current is tied in points for fourth place in the NWSL table, the club’s highest-ever place in the league’s standings.

The unbeaten streak has been met with impressive on-field play. Since May 27, Kansas City ranks first in the NWSL in total points (17), wins (5) and winning percentage (.857). Defensively, the Current are tied for first place in the NWSL for fewest goals allowed (5) and most shutout victories recorded (4). Kansas City’s four shutouts in its last seven matches include two in row, and the team hasn’t conceded since its July 1 win over the Houston Dash.

Franch goes back-to-back

Franch has been an integral piece of the Current’s unbeaten streak, and one of her saves against OL Reign stood above the rest. In the 22nd minute, Reign midfielder Kim Little received a through ball from fellow midfielder Jess Fishlock on a give-and-go, which gave Little an open shot on Franch from 12 yards out. Franch made a diving stop to deny Little’s goal-bound effort and the ensuing rebound went wide, effectively ending the opportunity.

Franch’s stop was rewarded with the Verizon NWSL Save of the Week award, the second consecutive week that Franch has received the honor. Her five saves against OL Reign brought her total for the year to 44 saves, which ranks third in the NWSL.

Tonight’s match could see a number of goals

Despite the Current’s recent run of stout defensive performances, an offensive match could be on the cards Sunday evening.

When Kansas City and Orlando first met in the regular season May 14, the match took off in the second half with four goals over the second 45 minutes. The Pride opened the scoring in the 51st minute, but Kansas City responded with goals from forwards Elyse Bennett and Kristen Hamilton in the 78th and 91st minutes.

Orlando leveled the match in the 90+6 minute with a penalty kick, which stood as the last action of the match. The 2-2 draw marked the Current’s first points of the 2022 NWSL regular season.

The Pride are no strangers to high-scoring affairs in 2022. Orlando enters Sunday’s match having conceded 26 goals, the most in the NWSL, while scoring 12 goals. The Current’s confident offensive attack looks to breach the Orlando back line, but a secure defensive performance from Kansas City could key a positive result Sunday.

Players to watch

Kansas City Current midfielder Claire Lavogez — The Current did not sit idle during the week off. The team announced the addition of French midfielder Claire Lavogez July 20. Lavogez will look to contribute her playmaking abilities to a talented midfield that features LaBonta, Pickett and captain Desiree Scott. The veteran midfielder has experience on the international stage with both the French youth and senior national teams. She has played her entire professional career in France’s top division to this point but should be available to make her NWSL debut in Sunday’s match.

Orlando Pride forward Darian Jenkins — Jenkins, an NWSL veteran, was Kansas City’s leading scorer last season. After arriving in Orlando via trade this offseason, she has been a mainstay of Orlando’s lineup. Her 983 minutes played ranks third on the team, and she’s started 11 of the Pride’s 12 matches. The forward has two goals for the Pride in 2022, including a goal against Washington May 27 that marked the latest goal in NWSL regular season history.

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Monarchs shut out Canaries, 3-0

by Adam Cook

The Kansas City Monarchs (45-22) stayed dominant over the Canaries from Sioux Falls (24-41), completing the combined shutout behind a strong performance from starter Nick Belzer and a dominant showing from the bullpen on Saturday in South Dakota.

Belzer went four innings, allowing no runs but recording no strikeouts before a new Monarch toed the rubber each inning for the rest of the game, shutting the Canaries out 3-0.

Monarchs starting pitcher Belzer took a moment to get settled, allowing a double and a walk to the first two batters. Fortunately for Belzer and the Monarchs, he knew how to time his double play balls, as a 6-4-3 double play helped him escape the inning unscathed.

Belzer and Sioux Falls starter Cesilio Pimentel then both traded 1-2-3 innings through the top of the third.

The streak was broken by Belzer’s allowing another two-baserunner inning when John Nester and Osvaldo Martinez hit back-to-back singles. Again, Belzer worked his way out of it by way of the ground ball with back-to-back ground ball outs, escaping once again scoreless.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Canaries’ offense again showed some life with a single and a double, putting runners at the corners with two away, but Sioux Falls’ Kona Quiggle ended the inning with a foul out.

The fifth inning marked the end of the road for Belzer, as Brian Glowicki began the fifth on the bump, ending Belzer’s night with four innings pitched, five hits, no runs, and no strikeouts. Glowicki’s entrance marked the beginning of a dominant night for the Monarchs’ bullpen, as he retired the side in four batters to send the game to the sixth, where the Monarchs’ bats finally came to life.

It began with a single from Willie Abreu, turning the lineup over to the top for leadoff hitter Darnell Sweeney, who then roped a double to right field, putting runners at second and third with no outs for Kevin Santa.

Santa didn’t have to take the bat off his shoulder to give the Monarchs the first lead of the game, however, as Abreu came across the plate on a wild pitch from Pimentel, advancing Sweeney to third. After a Santa strikeout, slugger David Thompson whacked a double to left field, scoring Sweeney and making the score 2-0 Kansas City.

Back-to-back walks from the next two batters, Matt Adams and Casey Gillaspie, brought newly converted first baseman J.C. Escarra to the batter’s box in a bases loaded, one out situation, where he became the third straight Monarch to be awarded a free pass, scoring Thompson.

This was the last straw for Pimentel, as he was taken out for relief pitcher Stevie Ledesma, who promptly struck out the next two Monarchs, turning the inning over with the score 3-0 Kansas City.

Brock Gilliam, Brandon Koch and Jeremy Rhoades took over in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, and allowed a combined one baserunner, and Koch struck out the side in order.

This brought the Monarchs to the ninth inning ahead 3-0, where closer Jameson McGrane retired Zane Gurwitz, Jabari Henry and Gavin LaValley in order, securing his 14th save, the combined shutout, and the sixth straight win for the Monarchs.

The Monarchs will go for the sweep in game three of their three-game series against the Sioux Falls Canaries at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, July 31, in South Dakota. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on

Tickets to Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting

Sporting KC shut out 2-0 by Austin FC

Daniel Salloi’s penalty kick was saved and bounced harmlessly away, denying Sporting Kansas City an equalizing goal in the second half of their match against Austin FC. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Austin FC took advantage of a youthful indiscretion by Sporting Kansas City midfielder Cam Duke, scoring at the close of both halves on the way to a 2-0 win Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting started with a revamped front that included Marinos Tzionis on the left and Willy Agada up the middle and put some early offensive pressure on Austin. In the 19th minute, Felipe Hernandez streaked forward from midfield and played the ball through to Tzionis, who fired a shot that forced a diving save from Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver.

Duke was sent off in the 43rd minute when he picked up his second caution just four minutes after his first. The first yellow card was for a relatively soft tackle, as referee Fotis Bazakos handed out four in quick sequence to get control of a suddenly chippy match.

With a man advantage, Alex Ring scored for Austin in the first half’s single minute of stoppage time. His easily savable roller from 25 yards out squirted through the arms and between the legs of goalkeeper John Pulskamp.

Daniel Salloi and Erik Thommy were subbed on at halftime to generate some Sporting offense, and the home side earned the chance for an equalizer in the 61st minute when Austin committed a hand ball in the penalty area.

Stuver turned away Daniel Salloi’s low penalty kick to the left side, earning a loud “Stooooo” from the small but raucous Austin cheering section in the southeast corner of Children’s Mercy Park.

Austin closed out the scoring at the very end of regulation when Sebastian Driussi slipped the Kansas City back line and got a clean ball through from Diego Fagundez.

Sporting Kansas City will be back at Children’s Mercy Park on Aug. 6 to face the Los Angeles Galaxy, kicking off at 7:30 p.m.

Midfielder Cam Duke played the ball along the end line, covered by Austin defender Ruben Gabrielsen. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Marinos Tzionis fired a shot from the left side that was saved by Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Felipe Hernandez tried to speed past Austin forward Ethan Finlay. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Johnny Russell played a cross in front of the Austin goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Ben Sweat fired a cross from the left side. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)