Why KC Current’s Vlatko Andonovski, amid hot start, is frustrated with NWSL schedule

Two weeks ago, Vlatko Andonovski’s postgame news conference — following the Current’s 5-2 win over Bay FC — was mostly celebratory and happy.

But a question about the club’s upcoming schedule and three-game road trip temporarily changed his tone.

“We’re the only team that is at a disadvantage but never catches someone else at a disadvantage,” Andonovski said. “I don’t know if I explained that right, but it’s a terrible schedule, and it is the worst schedule that we have. I promise.”

Here’s what Andonovski is talking about.

After defeating Angel City 3-1 last Friday, moving to 5-0-1 atop the NWSL standings, the Current now embark on a stretch of three matches in eight days. They’ll be on the road for the first two matches and have to travel across two time zones following those games.

The Current will play at the Houston Dash on Sunday, then at the Reign in Seattle on Wednesday, May 8. They’ll return home for a match on Sunday, May 12, against the North Carolina Courage.

The Reign will have two extra days of rest, playing Friday night (as compared to Sunday). They’ll also have both matches at home, unlike the Current.

When the Current return to Kansas City from that trip, to play on Mother’s Day, the Courage will again have the rest advantage. North Carolina plays on Saturday, May 4, then breaks for seven full days without a midweek game before facing the Current.

So, in the span of eight days, the Current will be caught multiple times at a travel and rest disadvantage to their opponents. At no point during the Current’s league schedule do they catch another team on notably short rest. Only two midweek games are on the rest of the schedule in the entire league after May 8.

It certainly puts the Current at a disadvantage. So one could see why Andonovski sounded off on the schedule again, ahead of a matchup with Angel City last week. It was the second time the Current faced Angel City in a month, and Andonovski noted that KC is not the only team who has to deal with the realities of an unbalanced league schedule.

Andonovski noted that Chicago and Seattle played each other twice within the first five matches of the season.

“I don’t know what the algorithm is for scheduling games, but it has to be better than that,” Andonovski said. “I think it needs to be balanced well, and teams should not play the same opponent twice within a few weeks.”

The Current, of course, can’t change the hand they’ve been dealt. With the team nearing full health — for maybe the first time in two years — a road trip like this will necessitate rotation and player management.

“We do have a great squad,” Andonovski said on Wednesday. “We do have great players (who are) ready to step in if we need to rotate players around. We’ll embrace those challenges and try to do our best.”

And while they have the ability to rotate, Andonovski says they won’t get ahead of themselves.

“It’s the Houston game that’s the most important game for us right now,” Andonovski said. “Once we’re done with Houston, we’re gonna figure out the best way or the best team or best players that will help us be successful in the next one.”

The Current take on the Houston Dash on Sunday afternoon, with kickoff set for 12 p.m.

Daniel Sperry covers soccer for The Star. He can be reached at