UKG NWSL Challenge Cup: Examining the two semifinal matchups

The NWSL Challenge Cup has reached its second to last stage with four teams fighting for one prize. Here's everything you need to know about the final four and how they match up.

OL Reign v San Diego Wave FC - 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup
OL Reign v San Diego Wave FC - 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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North Carolina Courage v Portland Thorns FC
North Carolina Courage v Portland Thorns FC / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

No. 2 seed: Kansas City Current vs. No. 3 seed: North Carolina Courage

Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. EST

How to watch: CBS Sports Network

It is like Déjà vu from last season. The same two clubs in Kansas City fight for an identical award as they did in this competition in 2022. With Debinha, and Diana Ordóñez leading the charge, North Carolina Courage took down the Current in KC 2-1 en route to an eventual Challenge Cup title. Since that match on May 4, 2022, a whole lot has transpired.

The Brazilian superstar will be donning the teal and red instead of the white and blue of NC. Sean Nahas' side made it in as the three seed on the final match week via a NJ/NY Gotham FC 1-1 draw against Orlando. Caroline Sjöblom's Current overcame Racing to take the Central Division, scoring six goals in the final three group stage contests to seal home field in the semifinals.

KC's striker Kristen Hamilton leads all scorers by two goals in the Challenge Cup so far. The danger does not stop at the two former Courage attackers. Cece Kizer and Michelle Cooper are both capable of converting a chance when their number is called. Malia Berkely and Kaleigh Kurtz are going to need to be dialed in through 90 minutes in the middle of NC's back four considering the individual threats the Current possess.

These clubs have split the season series with the Current taking the leg at Children's Mercy Park behind an early Hamilton goal. Neither side is in the prolific of forms right now. The Courage blew a two-goal lead twice last week to Gotham while KC fell to the bottom of the table following a defeat to Angel City FC.

Sjöblom's Current may have Debinha this time around, but it just seems far more likely that NC can control the match through 90 minutes against a reeling KC team. Nahas' side has not won a game since July 29. Behind a coach who has a history of success in this tournament, that streak should conclude on Wednesday evening.

Prediction: Kansas City Current 0-1 North Carolina Courage

The winners of each contest will meet in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup Championship on Saturday, September 9, at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Coverage for fans throughout these matches outside the United States will be on