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Match Preview: Seattle Reign vs. KC Current

The Reign face a high-powered offense in their midweek matchup.

Last Updated
5 min read
© William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

After a hard-fought win that snapped a five-game losing streak, Seattle Reign FC now have an opportunity to start a more positive streak when they host Kansas City Current on Wednesday evening. The May 8 match kicks off at 7 PM PT and will air on KONG TV locally and stream on NWSL+ and the KING5+ app.

It won't be an easy match for the Reign, as they'll be facing an undefeated Kansas City team, managed by former Reign and U.S. women's national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Matches between Andonovski and Laura Harvey are typically tight affairs, and Wednesday will likely be no exception.

Both teams have a quick turnaround after last weekend's matches, but the Current certainly has the tougher schedule. The Reign haven't played since a Friday home match, while Kansas City faced Houston on the road on Sunday and missed their flight that night due to a four-hour weather delay.

Recent Results

The Reign are coming off a 2-1 win at home against the San Diego Wave, in which they played roughly 100 minutes down a player after Tziarra King was given a red card early in the first half. The Current drew 1-1 with the Houston Dash on the road, with the aforementioned weather delay between halves.

Head to Head

This is the first matchup between the two teams in 2024. The Reign are 5-4-0 all-time against the Current, including a 3-1-0 home record.

Quick Stats

  • Kansas City (5-0-2) has scored 21 goals and conceded 12.
  • Seattle Reign (2-5-0) has scored seven goals and conceded 10.
  • Temwa Chawinga leads Kansas City with five goals. She also has three assists and became the third player in league history to contribute to at least one goal in six of her first seven NWSL matches.
  • Bia Zaneratto has four goals and three assists, while Vanessa DiBernardo has three goals and a league-leading five assists.

What to Watch

An offensive firepower

There's no denying it. The Kansas City Current are the most threatening offensive team in the league right now. They average the most goals, expected goals, shots, and shots on target per match. The Current are not creating these opportunities with possession. They are second-to-last in the league in passes attempted. Instead, they push the ball forward with progressive passing and direct play. They have a ton of speed in their attack, which makes this style of play effective.

So, how do you stop them? By keeping numbers behind the ball as much as possible and being solid in possession.

While they ultimately lost the match, Angel City rolled out an unexpected three-back formation against the Current a couple of weeks ago that helped clog up the middle and frustrated the Current. Look at how many Angel City players cover the center of the box in the below play. This forced the Current to funnel the ball out wide, where Angel City was set up to defend well.

Angel City, a team that likes to have the ball, also let the Current have 51% of possession during this match. If you're going up against a team that likes to transition, conceding possession in key spots on the field can help limit these chances. We could see the Reign let the Current backline have more of the ball.

"I think you've got to try and get their back four on the ball and then when they're on it, you've got to try and stop them from playing to the people that hurt them the most, that hurt you the most," Harvey said about limiting Kansas City's attack.

Be prepared for pressure

The Current love to pressure backlines when their opponent has the ball deep in their half. According to Opta, they have the second most intense press, meaning they will close down on players quickly. The Current have the most tackles won, the second most interceptions, and the most clearances.

The Reign like to invite pressure and find ways to solve it, but they'll need to be smart when building out of the back, especially early on. The Current are quick to close down and pounce on any ball in the midfield. Now, the visiting side may be a little more strategic about their press on Wednesday considering their tight turnaround from Sunday's match in Houston.

"I think you've also got to be really good at preventing transitional opportunities for them," Harvey said. "I think you've also got to accept that they are going to get some form of opportunity at some point. They're very explosive in those moments, so limiting the amount you possibly can, but knowing that there's chances that they are going to create. So, in those moments, just staying strong and showing the sort of mentality and the grit of not being beaten like we did on Friday."

If they don't win the ball high up the field, the Current are really comfortable defending deep in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 and transitioning quickly. They have the second fastest direct speed toward the goal and second most direct attacks. The Reign are going to have to learn some lessons from their loss to Chicago and make sure the Current can't transition quickly.

Some defensive vulnerabilities

The Current, on average, allow more than 13 shots per match and have given up 12 goals in seven games. This team is comfortable sacrificing some defense because of how dangerous it is in the attack, which is a little surprising for an Andonovski team.

Five of their 12 conceded goals have come from set pieces, and the Current have allowed the most shots from set pieces this season. The Reign, who have the fourth-highest expected goal total on set plays – but only one goal – have to take advantage on Wednesday.

Kansas City's focus on throwing numbers into the attack and pushing their fullbacks high can also leave them vulnerable to counters. The Reign can certainly put themselves in a better position if they score early – and some early pressure to create some transitional moments could unlock some good chances for the Reign at home.

Injury / Availability Report

Seattle Reign

OUT: Claudia Dickey (knee), Jordyn Huitema (back), Tziarra King (suspension), Quinn (knee)

KC Current

OUT: Hanna Glas (SEI - knee), Mallory Weber (SEI - knee), Bia Zaneratto (foot)

How to Watch

Seattle Reign kicks off at home against the Kansas City Current on Wednesday, May 8, at 7 PM PT. The match will air locally on KONG TV and stream on the KING5+ app and NWSL+.