Lo Labonta, Hailie Mace help KC Current keep unbeaten streak going with win in Houston

Nick Tre. Smith/Special to The Star
·3 min read

The Kansas City Current hasn’t lost in its last five games as the team extended its unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win in Houston on Friday night.

The international break has not slowed down the Kansas City Current’s unbeaten run. A 2-1 win in Houston thanks to goals from Lo Labonta and Hailie Mace stretches the run to five in a row without a loss and keeps the Current on the upward trend.

“Any win in the NWSL is a good one,” Current head coach Matt Potter said. “Obviously (I’m) delighted to come away with something on the night.”

The Current (3-3-4) got off to a hot start on Friday, creating some good chances in buildup while limiting the Dash’s chances to long balls. Ebony Salmon was a threat against the Current, but her chances on long balls over the top were not much of a problem for AD Franch and the backline.

Mace played her best game for the Current since her return from injury, looking strong in making runs through the midfield, and even coming inside the central areas to help create.

“I feel like this is the first game that I’ve felt back to my normal self,” Mace said.

Both Potter and Mace attributed the week without a game to help her get in a full recovery and enjoy some time to really build back into the match week.

“I was feeling comfortable and confident,” Mace said.

Her cross led to a handball in the first half by former FC Kansas City player and Liberty, Missouri, native Shea Groom. LaBonta smashed home the penalty just before the halftime whistle for her second goal of the year.

The Current had been victims of some controversial penalties throughout the season, and the victim of some of its own penalties the players have created.

“I think to get one this time, that was a blatant handball and get the PK. … It was just nice to know that games are fair,” LaBonta said.

With the locker-room talk being about how Houston was going to come out strong to try and score a goal early in the second half and get back into the game, the Current made it a point to come out strong itself. Less than 40 seconds into the second half, Mace doubled the Current’s lead when her shot found the back of the net after a nifty give-and-go with Cece Kizer.

“Normally we kick it long, so it was nice we didn’t do that,” Mace joked. “We just kept the ball. Me, CeCe, and Lo interchanged positions. And then I just ended up at the top of the box.”

With captain Desiree Scott on international duty still with Canada, Alex Loera stepped into the midfield as part of a “dual pivot.” Her role to roam around and bust up plays in the midfield was executed well.

“Alex along with that back three had a really important role for the team tonight,” Potter said. “I thought that group was outstanding.”

The Dash got one back in the 100th minute after the referee had judged there needed to be nine minutes plus of stoppage time. Liz Ball’s clearance went straight into her own net to wipe out a clean sheet.

The Current is now in seventh place in the NWSL table with 12 points, just two points out of a playoff spot.

Next up for the Current is a game with the Spirit in Washington D.C. on July 10th