Sunday, KC NWSL scored her tenth game without a win, which is unfortunate as goalkeeper Abby Smith put in an incredible game, making five saves, including a mid-first-half penalty. But just as Smith had made heroic saves, an error in the first-half stopping time allowed Portland’s Simone Charley to score, giving the Thorns the advantage for the remainder of the game.
As exciting as it was to welcome an NWSL team back to Kansas City, fans couldn’t celebrate a win. Since the start of the 2021 competition, including all four Challenge Cup matches, KC has gone 0-7-3, going 0-4-2 in the regular season. At the time of writing, they’re on a four-game losing streak and a scoreless fourth game.
Even for an expansion team, it’s an incredibly long stretch to go without a win and without a goal. This is where we can begin to explain why KC NWSL achieved this streak. Why did the KC NWSL struggle to secure a victory?
We can give possible reasons: This is technically an expansion team, but neither are they, having inherited a Utah roster, so they didn’t start from scratch with the players. But KC has a new coach and a new style of play. I’m not sure we can use the old expansion argument here because Racing Louisville is also an expansion team, and they have a better start to the season. , but they were able to build their roster through an expansion draft, so we’re back to square one.
So, is this the list? Kansas City inherited a roster from Utah that didn’t have its stars they had in 2018 and 2019 (think Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, Kelley O’Hara), and even with a popular head coach as Laura Harvey and USWNT players, Utah didn’t make the playoffs in either year. In 2020, Utah was under the guidance of a new head coach, who was eventually made redundant, and the organization as a whole was facing all kinds of issues, which led to Royals FC ceasing operations. Utah, once he lost Sauerbrunn, Press, O’Hara, Harvey, spent 2020 rebuilding, as much as he could in a 2020. But at least Utah won a game in 2020, not much, but they celebrated a victory in 2020 over Sky Blue FC in the Challenge Cup. The Utah team also haven’t gone ten games without a win.
It’s been six months, 10 games, I’m not sure we can blame the current issues on the lineup’s legacy because KC, just like Utah did in their first season, took action. to change the alignment and make it your own. There were exchanges, with Darian Jenkins and Kristen Edmonds and signings including Chloe Logarzo, Mariana Larroquette and Jéssica Silva. KC also used the college draft to bring in young players like Victoria Pickett and Kiki Pickett. Of course, Logarzo has been limited by injury and Silva is still adjusting to the squad, but when they’re on the pitch their presence changes the dynamics. KC enjoyed a much better second half against Portland when the two entered the game.
Is it the style of coaching? As soon as KC NWSL was announced as a new team, Huw Williams was appointed head coach, and it made sense. Williams was a former FC Kansas City general and was part of the FCKC executive team that won back-to-back NWSL championships in 2014 and 2015, working with the FCKC head coach, now the head coach from the USWNT, Vlatko Andonovski. But the NWSL has since evolved, making it the most competitive women’s league in the world. I wondered why Kansas City didn’t take a few more weeks to search for a coach. Again, there was a lack of time and Williams is well known in the Kansas City community.
To be fair to Williams, he didn’t have a list to his strength. There were international breaks that interrupted the starting XI, injuries (a lot of them) and unfortunate calls (like the goal scored against Orlando). KC also plays a much better attacking style than Utah, and the team isn’t losing by wide margins. Every game has been close, but KC continues to struggle to be clinical in the final third, which ultimately leads to the results they have achieved.
The games won’t continue to get any easier for Kansas City. This week they will play for the first place Orlando Pride Wednesday, and third Washington Spirit the Saturday. They play the game for a reason, and we can’t rule out KC as they face two of the best teams this week, and as the season goes on, maybe KC will make a breakthrough.