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The 'Teal Mobile' is a hype machine as KC Current preps for its national championship match

  A man in a black baseball cap ties a bright teal-colored bandana on his curly-haired tan-colored dog at the pub Bar K.
Greg Echlin
Jake Douglas ties a KC Current bandana on his dog. Douglas said he first heard about the Current when the team opened its new practice facility in Riverside earlier this year.

Kansas City's women's soccer team faces the Portland Thorns for the league title at 7 p.m. Saturday. Here's how fans are preparing, and where to watch the game.

While the Kansas City Current have been getting settled in Washington, D.C., this week preparing for the title match of the National Women’s Soccer League, team staffers have been bouncing around like a soccer ball in the Kansas City metro area raising team awareness.

The traveling team merchandise truck, known as the “Teal Mobile,” has been active since Sunday’s 2-0 semifinal win over the top-seeded OL Reign in Seattle. While the truck was back at its Riverside practice facility being restocked, a couple of staffers had teal-colored merchandise available for dogs at Bar K, a riverfront establishment for dogs and their owners.

It’s in close proximity to the construction site that will house the Current’s future stadium. They’ll play their home matches at the 11,500-seat park starting in 2024.

Kansas City Current fans Dawn Newbill and Michael Ritter look at bright blue dog bandanas and collars on the outside patio at BarK
Greg Echlin
Kansas City Current fans Dawn Newbill and Michael Ritter look at accessories for their dog on BarK's patio. The Current season ticket holders said they're excited for this weekend's game.

Current fans Dawn Newbill and Michael Ritter bought a collar for their dog at Bar K.

“When they won to go to the championship, we saw online that they were doing a bunch of events and this was one of them,” said Newbill shortly after purchasing the teal-colored collar.

Jake Douglas bought a bandana for his dog at the same event. He heard about the Current as a Riverside, Missouri, resident.

“They opened their (practice) facility in Riverside,” said Douglas when asked how he got hooked as a fan of the Current. The Current opened its practice facility, the first of its kind in the U.S. for women’s professional soccer, earlier this year.

Newbill and Ritter also attended the Oct. 6 groundbreaking festival for the new stadium.

“We saw everybody. We listened to all the wonderful speakers,” said Newbill. “It was great.”

Ritter attended the final home match, Sept. 25, when the Current clinched a playoff berth and were eventually seeded fifth out of 12. Last year, the Current finished last in the league.

“I played soccer growing up all the way through high school and love watching it,” said Ritter, who grew up in the Chicago area and has lived in Kansas City for eight years.

Ritter and Newbill are also season-ticket holders for the Kansas City Chiefs home games and got hooked on the Current as soon as the news broke about women’s professional soccer returning to Kansas City.

“We found out that (Brittany) Mahomes got involved and she used to play professionally, which is great,” said Ritter.

Living north of the Missouri River, Ritter and Newbill will be keeping an eye on the title match and looking forward to the day when it’ll be a just a short drive to the new stadium. They’ve already put down a deposit on future season tickets.

The Teal Mobile will be at Ruby Jean's on Troost Avenue and Boulevard Brewing Company on Friday, and will spend Saturday morning at Messenger Coffee in the Crossroads before heading to the official team watch party.

Where to watch

The match will stream live on Saturday, Oct. 29 beginning at 7 p.m. CT on CBS, Paramount+ and Twitch.

The Current is holding its official watch party for all ages at Union Station’s Haverty Family Yards. Doors open at 5 p.m. The team recommends reserving tickets for the free event in advance on its website.

Some local businesses are also hosting watch parties. Gael’s Public House and Sports on Troost Avenue will be showing the game, as will Casual Animal Brewing Co in the Crossroads.

Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas is expecting craft beer from Portland, Oregon mayor Ted Wheeler if the Current win on Saturday. Win or lose, he's promised to send Wheeler his customary Gates Bar-B-Que and Boulevard Brewing's Current-themed Teal Rising Pilsner.

Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
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