Baggett and Monaghan Keep Racing Louisville Perfect in Challenge Cup
Racing Louisville FC continued their impressive run in the NWSL Challenge Cup, securing a convincing 2-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars under the Friday night lights at Lynn Family Stadium. Jordan Baggett and Paige Monaghan netted first-half goals, propelling Racing to a perfect start in the tournament, making them the only team with four wins out of four games.
The Louisville-based team put on a dominant display, outshooting Chicago 25-8 and maintaining firm control throughout the match. Racing forward Kirsten Davis, who provided the assist for Baggett’s goal, praised the team’s strong attacking performance and solid defense, limiting Chicago’s dangerous chances.
With this latest triumph, Racing firmly positioned themselves at the top of the standings with 12 points, six points ahead of second-place Kansas City, who have yet to play their weekend fixture. The team will wrap up the group stage with two consecutive away matches against Houston and Kansas City on July 29 and August 5, respectively.
While we at the Blugrass Soccer Cast do not understand why the league is play during the Women’s World Cup, this is an amazing run for Racing Louisville. As a reminder, the NWSL Challenge Cup is an ongoing league-wide tournament that concludes in August, featuring a group stage while some players are away competing at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The tournament will culminate with the semifinals and final on September 6 and 9, with a substantial $1 million prize pool to be distributed among the participants. Considering how well the Ladies in Lavender are playing in cup play, they should be strong contenders to make the final; along with the OL Reign.
Racing’s head coach, Kim Björkegren, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s stellar performance, lauding their exceptional goal difference with 10 goals scored and only two conceded in four games. He emphasized the team’s ambition to reach the semifinals and ultimately win the entire tournament, appreciating their current position with 12 points out of a possible 12.
In the match against Chicago, Racing displayed their determination from the start, with Baggett opening the scoring in the 11th minute after a swift combination play involving Davis, Lauren Milliet, and Parker Goins. Eight minutes later, Monaghan showcased her scoring prowess, firing in a half-volley from 12 yards out after a deflected cross, marking her third goal in as many games. Monaghan’s remarkable performance earned her the distinction of being the first player in NWSL history to start 20 Challenge Cup games.
The team’s strong desire to start fast against Chicago following the mid-season break was evident, as they executed their game plan flawlessly. Captain Jaelin Howell’s motivational words during the break motivated the squad to maintain focus and unity, reinforcing their determination to succeed.
Racing Louisville FC’s consistent dominance and remarkable form in the NWSL Challenge Cup have positioned them as strong contenders for the semifinals, and their exceptional performances indicate a team with the potential to go all the way and lift the trophy in this prestigious competition.
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(Photo: Chris Humphrey)