KC Current vs. Washington Spirit in the NWSL Football Game 7/10/22
Second-half substitute Cece Kizer scored the lone goal of the game on Sunday afternoon as Kansas City Current defeated host Washington Spirit 1-0 in Leesburg, Va.
National Women’s Soccer League veteran goaltender AD Franch stood tall to ensure the goal was also reached.
It looked fairly certain that the Current (5-4-3) would escape the defending league champions’ home with a hard-fought decision after Kizer’s 68th-minute goal. But a penalty in front of the current goal in the dying moments of the game gave host Spirit one last chance to level it.
“My first thought was, ‘AD got it,'” current coach Matt Potter said.
The legitimacy of the foul can be debated, as after minimal contact, the apparently fouled Spirit player took three more steps before collapsing to the ground. Nevertheless, Tinaya Alexander received the PK.
“Whatever decisions the referees make is the decision,” Franch said. “It’s my job to try to stop (opposing shots) as much as possible. Our team was due.
After guessing his options, Alexander sent the penalty shot on goal. Franch went to her right and made a solid one-hand save before absorbing hard contact from a charging Washington player.
Salina native Franch remained on the grass for a tense few moments after the collision, surrounded by teammates, but quickly got up and stayed in the game as stoppage time elapsed.
“AD has been fantastic for us all season, and today just gave her that moment she really deserves,” Potter said.
Potter went on to praise his leadership both on and off the court – indeed, helping the Current get to where they are at this point in the season.
“Whether it’s as a mother, whether it’s training habits, whether it’s as a team member and now as a performer,” Potter said. “So when that time came, we had high expectations for her, and she lived up to the expectation that we have for her because she’s so good.”
Franch enjoyed the applause for her decisive game, but in turn praised her teammates for their tenacity throughout Sunday’s game.
In particular, she singled out Kizer, who sat next to her during the post-match interview: “This one came off the bench scoring big goals,” Franch said.
“And then Kate Del Fava came out with a huge backup off the line for us that kept us going,” Franch continued. “I know backing up PK is the big thing, and it was a big deal. But overall this team pulled together and we all had to do big things to make this win happen.
Kizer had been battling an illness last week, but she looked very active on Sunday. On the play that produced the goal, her second since the trade last month that brought her back to Kansas City (she’s from Overland Park), she found herself in the right place at the right time.
A failed clearance from the Spirit dropped the ball in front of her and Kizer kicked it decisively into the net.
“I just wanted to come in, and Matt (Potter) told me to come in and win this game, whatever it is,” Kizer said. “I think I did tonight.”
Sunday’s victory marks the Current’s first consecutive wins in franchise history and moves them ever closer to the playoffs. With their recent form, a trip to the playoffs certainly seems achievable.
“I think we’re all coming together and we have one end goal in mind, and that’s to make the playoffs – the first time in club history to do so,” Kizer said. “I think it’s exciting and I’m just ready to continue next week.”
The Current will return home next weekend, hosting OL Reign at 6 p.m. Central on Sunday, July 17 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
This story was originally published July 10, 2022 6:08 p.m.