2022 NWSL Championship Preview: Portland Thorns vs Kansas City Current

2022 NWSL Championship

In the 2022 NWSL Championship, Portland Thorns and Kansas City Current face off in this winner takes all final.

Audi Field is expected to have a near sellout crowd which will make this atmosphere raucous and memorable.

Path to NWSL Final

Kansas City

  • Quarterfinals: @Houston Dash 2-1
  • Semi-finals: @OL Reign 2-0


  • Quarterfinals: #2 Seed (Bye)
  • Semi-finals: vs San Diego Wave 2-1

Previous Meetings

  • 4-30: Portland vs Kansas City 3-0
  • 9-18: Portland @ Kansas City 1-1

Projected Starting XIs


  • Could we see Janine Beckie or Christine Sinclair start?
    • Thorns will likely stick with this lineup in order to maximize speed to stop the Current’s counterattack.

Kansas City: No changes expected


Defense: Tie

  • Backline – Thorns: Portland have a solid backline led by 2nd team NWSL Best XI, Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelli Hubly.
    • Portland’s backline has only conceded 24 goals which is 3rd best in the league.
    • Kansas City’s backline has conceded 29 goals which is 7th best in the league.
  • Goalkeeper – Current: AD Franch was selected on the 2nd team NWSL Best XI and was 2nd in saves.
    • Bella Bixby is tied for the league lead in clean sheets and 2nd in GAA (goals against average).

Midfield: Portland

  • Thorns are led by the trio of Sam Coffey (1st team NWSL Best XI), Rocky Rodriquez, and Hina Sugita.
  • Current are led by superstar Lo’eau LaBonta, a 1st team NWSL Best XI selection and one of the most underrated players in NWSL.
    • Kansas City lost key contributor Claire Lavogez due to injury.
    • Desiree Scott does a ton of work that goes unrecognized and is not listed in the box score

Attack: Portland

  • Portland led the league in goals scored with 49 and goal differential of +25.
    • Thorns had 14 different goal scorers
      • 4 players had 5 goals or more (Smith, Weaver, Sinclair, Sugita)
    • Yazmeen Ryan is third in NWSL with 5 assists.
  • Sophia Smith was named NWSL MVP after having a career year with 14 goals and 3 assists.
    • Smith also has 10 goals with the USWNT this year.
  • Kansas City are led by Cece Kizer, Lo’eau LaBonta, and Kristin Hamilton
    • This trio combined for over 20 goals
    • Current scored 29 goals which is 7th most in NWSL
    • Against Houston Dash and OL Reign, KC scored 2 goals each.

Coaching: Tie

  • Rhian Wilkinson reshaped Portland’s midfield and turned it into the league’s best.
    • Rotated lineups to keep players fresh for the duration of the season
    • Led Thorns to most goals scored and best goal differential in club history
    • Team had unbeaten streak of 11 in regular season
  • Matt Potter was nominated for coach of the year for Kansas City
    • Led a team that finished last in NWSL last year to 5th
    • Team had league best unbeaten streak of 13 in regular season

Players to Watch

  • Sophia Smith: The NWSL MVP has scored over 20 goals this year for club and country.
    • There is no defender on Kansas City that can contain her.
      • They’ll have to put multiple defenders on her which will open it up for Weaver, Ryan, and the rest of the team.
  • Morgan Weaver: Every team needs a player who works their tail off each game and willing to do whatever it takes to win.
    • She was second on the team with 7 goals.
  • Sam Coffey: In her rookie year, she was called up to the USWNT, a ROY finalist, and selected to NWSL Best XI while playing a secondary position.
    • Kansas City Current are willing to concede position as they have speed all over the pitch.
    • Coffey will need to control the tempo while tracking back to snuff out their attacks.
  • Lo’eau LaBonta: Enjoying a career year with 7 goals and 4 assists.
    • Has yet to miss a penalty kick when called upon this year
    • Tied for 5th in NWSL in assists
  • Hailie Mace: The former #2 overall pick has been brilliant for the Current
    • Mace had 4 goals and 2 assists
    • One of the best attacking defenders in the league
  • Officiating:
    • The Current have been awarded the most penalties in NWSL


Portland Thorns: 2-0

Goals: Sophia Smith, Hina Sugita
Assists: Morgan Weaver, Yazmeen Ryan

Elite Bench:
Portland has the best options off the bench in NWSL history and it will come into play once again
Head Coach Rhian Wilkinson has the option to bring Janine Beckie, Crystal Dunn, Christine Sinclair, Emily Menges, Tegan McGrady and Olivia Moultrie off the bench. That is an abundant of riches that allows her to wear out the defense of KC.

DK Sportsbook Odds:

  • Portland Thorns -120
  • KC Current +275

Phuoc “Francis” Nguyen

Portland Thorns & Portland Timbers #BAONPDX #RCTID