Kansas City Current fall to Houston Dash. Here’s the sequence that swung the result
In an effort to avoid a fourth straight NWSL loss (and fifth straight defeat across all competitions), the Kansas City Current just couldn’t find the back of the net for the second straight match. They fell 2-0 to the Houston Dash Friday at Children’s Mercy Park.
“Tough loss against a team that we knew how they were going to play against us, no surprises,” Current interim head coach Caroline Sjöblom said. “Today they were much more effective than we were on the pitch.”
In the midst of a three-game home stand, Kansas City matched up against the Houston Dash for the second time this season and for the first time at home. In the previous meeting, the Current were carried by the defensive efforts of goaltender Cassie Miller as they shut out the Dash 2-0 on April 19 in the Challenge Cup.
Friday’s matchup was trending that way in the first half, with Miller back in the net. But 42 minutes of back-and-forth play stopped as Houston’s Diana Ordóñez scored to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Current found themselves trailing before halftime once again, a recurring theme of their five most recent matches. Their last goal in NWSL play came on May 7 in a loss against Angel City.
After allowing the first goal, Kansas City midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo led a brief team huddle on the pitch.
“I just didn’t really feel like we were playing up to our capabilities and just wanted to push ourselves,” DiBernardo said of her message to the team. “We knew we could be playing better individually, collectively, and we just wanted to finish the half and feel like we pushed a bit harder.”
The message rang true for the next handful of minutes, but Houston showed little signs of slowing down to open the second half.
DiBernardo had a chance to level the score, but her left-footed attempt early in the second frame was saved by Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell in the 49th minute.
The save followed a KC shot that occurred a minute prior, which came off the right foot of defender Hailie Mace. Houston picked things back up after the Current failed to convert the two chances.
“I think we need to take our chances,” DiBernardo said. “I think this league comes and goes, and you get into flows. I think we’re just in a bit of a lull, but we have the players and we have the talent. We know that, and we have the capability to finish these chances. And I think as soon as we get one, the door will open.”
The Dash advanced back down the pitch following Campbell’s save on DiBernardo, but another Miller save provided temporary relief. The Current weren’t in the clear just yet, as was evident when a corner conceded by Michelle Cooper turned into the Dash’s second goal of the night — off the head of Ally Prisock in the 54th minute.
As the clock was winding down, the Current were never able to find their way back into the match. Kansas City recorded 14 shots and five shots on goal, finding no success on what Sjöblom considered low-quality shots that included a few that soared above the net.
Sjöblom indicated player frustration crept into the shot quality for KC on Friday.
“I think that players get frustrated when we don’t score and that they want to do it a little bit too much,” Sjöblom said. “Maybe when we should pass the ball or do one more pass players are stepping there, wanting to score and maybe taking a shot from a little bit of a bad angle instead of passing the ball.”
DiBernardo also spoke on the missed opportunities.
“I think we finished the first half well,” DiBernardo, who led the team with three shot attempts, said. “I think we pushed a little bit harder. ... I thought we came out and played better in the second half. It’s tough giving up the goals we’ve given up, but I think things are going to change and we’re getting opportunities. We just need to capitalize on them.”
That led to another scoreless Current outing, which also came with some history for the opponent.
With the clean sheet, Campbell headlined Houston’s performance in multiple ways. She recorded her 10,000th minute with the Dash at the 53-minute mark. Campbell finished her night with five saves in the Dash’s victory.
The Current (2-7-0) next play host to the North Carolina Courage on June 3 at 7:30 p.m.