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Lo’eau LaBonta’s late MVP surge is legit

Listen closely. That’s the sound of the MVP chants growing louder in Kansas City.

NWSL: OL Reign at Kansas City Current Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Current have survived season-ending injuries to key players such as Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis, and are on the brink of cementing their place in the NWSL Playoffs. At the heart of this resurgence is Lo’eau LaBonta, who’s form since the about the midway point of the season has made her a sure-fire candidate to the NWSL MVP of the season.

LaBonta has pitched in with impeccable penalties during Kansas City’s run up the table and into the playoff spots. She’s stepped up to the spot on five occasions and found the back of the net each time, with great aplomb; and when she’s not scoring penalties, she’s providing assists for her teammates too with four so far this season.

It’s not just the productivity that LaBonta has produced which has people now mentioning her name for the MVP award; it’s also her overall game play. Whether she’s in her own half or making late runs into the box from midfield, Lo’eau LaBonta has been pivotal to how the Current have played so far this season.

She’s found a new lease of life in Kansas City and has taken that opportunity with both hands, being able to control the tempo of the Current’s midfield while also producing defensive splitting passes to her teammates ahead of her.

On top of that, LaBonta has shown just how high her confidence is with goal celebrations like this one:

That’s a sign of a player who’s in great form and knows it. An arrogance born from being on the top of your game and producing at key moments for your team.

If Steph Curry can send opponents to sleep in his celebrations than LaBonta can certainly play up her status as the “elder stateswoman” on the team. All professional athletes have an air of self-belief in them, they have to to be able to compete at the highest level and LaBonta is showing that through her play on the pitch. Why not extend that self-belief to her goal celebrations as well?

Whatever may come of the Current’s season this time around will center around Lo’eau LaBonta. She’s stepped into the limelight particularly in Mewis’ absence and has elevated her team to a place where they can conceivably start dreaming about more than just making the playoffs.