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How emerging stars Temwa Chawinga and Bia Zaneratto have transformed the Kansas City Current

Before the season, some wondered if Vlatko Andonovski’s team had the juice to regularly score goals. Now, the only question is if they’ll ever stop. 

6 min read
Kansas City Current

Temwa Chawinga didn’t score for the Kansas City Current against Angel City over the weekend – she didn’t even take a shot until deep into second-half stoppage time. 

If you expected to be surprised by that fact back before the season began, then I’ve got a few bets I need you to place for me.

The narrative of the first quarter of the 2024 season has been shaped not by Jaedyn Shaw, or Alex Morgan, or even by the high-profile transfers of players like Asisat Oshoala and Racheal Kundananji. It hasn’t been shaped by dominance from the usual suspects like Portland and San Diego. It hasn’t been shaped by the should-be-galacticos Gotham FC after their four massive free agent signings. 

No, this nascent stage of the season has been defined by the 24-year-old Malawi forward and her 30-year-old Brazilian strike partner, neither of whom had major pedigree coming into the NWSL. Chawinga and Bia Zaneratto João have stamped their pedigree loudly and clearly all the same. 

Don’t feel bad if you missed both of them back in March. Bia has begun to exit the prime of her career, and her seven goals in 900 minutes for Palmeiras in the Brasileirão Feminino last year has no direct translation to the more competitive NWSL. 

Chawinga managed to wrack up 63 goals across all club and international competitions for Wuhan Jianghan and Malawi in 2023, more than any other women’s player on the planet. But the Chinese Women’s Super League holds a pretty low threshold for talent. Malawi has never played in a World Cup, Olympic Games, or even an Africa Cup of Nations. Those 63 goals may not have carried much weight if one wished to predict Chawinga’s success in America. 

Current head coach and sporting director Vlatko Andonovski and general manager Camille Ashton took a gamble on Bia and Chawinga. Had injuries to Nichelle Prince, Kristen Hamilton, and Michelle Cooper not left the cupboard bare for forwards, then they may not have gotten the chance to prove themselves. 

No matter: both Bia and Chawinga – former teammates at Wuhan back in 2020-21 – grabbed the opportunity to stake their claim to the starting jobs in Kansas City. Frankly, the performances they’ve put in thus far are more than a little stunning.

Bia and Chawinga have combined for 13 goals and assists so far this season, more than any other strike partnership in the league. 

They’re rivaled only by the 14 goals and assists combined by…Bia and fellow Current teammate Vanessa DiBernardo. They’re backing up those results with jaw-dropping performances as measured by xG, expected assists, and goals added. Only Trinity Rodman and Ouleymata Sarr of the Washington Spirit can touch them for a team’s one-two punch. 

The numbers for both players are extraordinary. Like, “that’s not even a radar chart, it’s basically just a straight-up circle” extraordinary. 

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