WASHINGTON, DC — The Portland Thorns and Kansas City Current meet tonight in the 2022 NWSL Championship. Audi Field — home of the Washington Spirit — is hosting this year’s NWSL Final. See below for a preview of the game, details on how to watch, NWSL Championship history, and what’s at stake for both teams.
RECAP: Portland wins 2022 NWSL Championship, MVP Smith scores game winner
How to watch the 2022 NWSL Championship
For the first time ever, the 2022 NWSL Championship will air in primetime on network TV. Kickoff is set for 8pm ET on CBS. Fans can also livestream the game on Paramount+.
Portland Thorns – Starting XI
- Bella Bixby
- Meghan Klingenberg
- Becky Sauerbrunn
- Kelli Hubly
- Natalia Kuikka
- Sam Coffey
- Rocky Rodriguez
- Christine SInclair
- Morgan Weaver
- Yazmeen Ryan
- Sophia Smith
You know what time it is… 😏
YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP STARTING XI ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/kjI5vNE3vz
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) October 29, 2022
Kansas City Current – Starting XI
- Kristen Edmonds
- Hailie Mace
- Cece Kizer
- Elizabeth Ball
- Kate del Fava
- Lo’eau LaBonta
- Desiree Scott
- AD Franch
- Alex Loera
- Kristen Hamilton
- Addisyn Merrick
Kansas City's Championship XI.#CurrentRising pic.twitter.com/HYDqDKy39D
— KC Current (@thekccurrent) October 29, 2022
Portland Thorns vs. Kansas City Current – Results during 2022 NWSL season
The Portland Thorns and Kansas City Current met twice in the regular season. Portland won the first game — the regular-season opener — 3-0, while the two teams drew 1-1 in their most recent meeting (September 18).
“We are a different team now than we were then,” Kansas City defender Alex Loera told On Her Turf. “I think the whole group is just like, ‘Why not us? Why can’t we be the ones to win it all? We’re here.’ I think everyone knows we have such a great opportunity in front of us.”
How Portland and Kansas City reached the NWSL Final
Portland Thorns: While Portland just missed out on the NWSL Shield, the team earned a bye to the NWSL Semifinals as the No. 2 seed. The Thorns qualified for the NWSL Final by winning last week’s semifinal against the San Diego Wave, 2-1, with Crystal Dunn scoring the game-winner in stoppage time.
Kansas City Current: After finishing last in 2021, Kansas City had a slow start to the 2022 regular season, going winless in their first five games. They then went on a 13-game undefeated streak, the second-longest in NWSL history, and qualified for the NWSL Playoffs as the No. 5 seed.
To reach the NWSL Final, Kansas City had to win back-to-back away games. In the quarterfinal round, the Current defeated the Houston Dash, 2-1, with a thrilling stoppage time goal from Kate del Fava. They extended their historic playoff run with a 2-0 semifinal win vs. the OL Reign, with Alex Loera and Kristen Hamilton tallying goals.
RELATED: Kansas City Current bought in to reach 2022 NWSL Championship
NWSL Championship – History on the line
- Just by being here, the Portland Thorns are the first team in league history to qualify for four NWSL Championships.
- If the Thorns win, they’ll make more history as the first NWSL team to claim three titles, having previously won in 2013 and 2017.
- Still, it is Portland’s first championship appearance since 2018, when they lost 3-0 to a North Carolina Courage team that included Crystal Dunn.
Kansas City Current:
- In their second season as a franchise, the Kansas City Current qualified for their first ever NWSL playoff appearance — and made it all the way to the Championship game. Pretty remarkable when you remember that the Current finished last in the 10-team NWSL table in 2021.
- No NWSL team has ever reached the championship — let alone win it — after finishing last in the standings one season earlier.
- Kansas City is also the lowest-ever seed (#5) to make the NWSL Championship (though the NWSL tournament only expanded from four to six seeds last year).
MORE NWSL COVERAGE: The Kansas City Current bought in to reach 2022 NWSL Championship
NWSL Championship History
- 2013: Portland Thorns (defeated Western New York Flash, 2-0)
- 2014: FC Kansas City (defeated Seattle Reign, 2-1)
- 2015: FC Kansas City (defeated Seattle Reign, 1-0)
- 2016: Western New York Flash (defeated Washington Spirit on penalties)
- 2017: Portland Thorns (defeated North Carolina Courage, 1-0)
- 2018: North Carolina Courage (defeated Portland Thorns, 3-0)
- 2019: North Carolina Courage (defeated Chicago Red Stars, 4-0)
- 2020: Not played due to Covid-19, Challenge Cup/Fall Series played instead
- 2021: Washington Spirit (defeated Chicago Red Stars in extra time, 2-1)
- 2022: ??
What they’re saying ahead of the NWSL Final
Christine Sinclair on why this year’s Portland Thorns team was able to reach this point:
“I think we headed to every year expecting to play in this (NWSL Championship) game tomorrow, expecting to be challenging for the Shield. But the thing about this team is — those young players that have come in, whether they’re rookies, whether it’s their second or third year — they’ve had such an impact on this team and have a unique combination of experience and youth. It’s a joy to go to work every day and be around this team and how tight we have become over the course of the season. It’s an exciting group and definitely one of the most talented ones I’ve ever been a part of, but we have one more game to go.”
Kansas City defender Kristen Edmonds on when she knew the team had something special:
“In preseason, I kept saying, ‘Something feels different’… We went to Florida for a month and within the first couple days, I just had this feeling, for me, something’s very different about this season.”
Becky Sauerbrunn on Portland’s mentality heading into tonight’s game:
“I think when you go into a championship match, everything’s so heightened and there’s so many extra things that are happening around the squad. As a veteran player, it’s kind of (my job) to bring us back to play soccer. We all know how to do this job. We’ve been doing it all season and obviously we’ve done it well enough to get to this point.”
Kansas City captain Desiree Scott on how the team rebounded from finishing last in 2021 to reach the 2022 NWSL Final:
“Obviously, coming off a not-so-great season previously, I think a lot of people wouldn’t have thought that we could get here. But as the season continued… I think that belief continued to grow with our winning streaks happening, just the way we were playing … We thought we can get here and here we are.”
Christine Sinclair on what it means for this year’s NWSL Final to air during primetime on a major network:
“We’ve both been fortunate to play in some pretty big games in our careers and this added exposure is exactly what the women’s game needs… I was fortunate to play in the first championship game and I think — outside of the people in Portland — no one knew that the game was happening. So I’d say it’s what this league, it’s what us as players deserve. This, women’s sports, in general, all they need is a chance. People will watch, people will come if given the opportunity to do so. For this game to be on primetime — on a major network — it’s just going to continue to grow the game to continue to inspire those youngsters watching. I’m a firm believer that young kids need to be able to see to believe that it can happen.”
RELATED: Sam Coffey on NWSL rookie season, USWNT debut and Yates report takeaways
Availability Report for the NWSL Final
Kansas City Current
- Out: Jaycie Johnson (right leg), Claire Lavogez (right leg), Sam Mewis (SEI – right leg), Lynn Williams (SEI – right leg), Mallory Weber (SEI – right leg)
- Questionable: Cece Kizer (concussion)
- International Duty: None
- Out: None
- Questionable: None
- International Duty: None
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