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Controversial Calls Cost Racing in Damaging 1-0 Defeat at Chicago

(Photo: USA Today Photos)

Racing Louisville’s hopes of reaching the playoffs took a major hit on Saturday night, falling 1-0 to the Chicago Red Stars on the road.

A pair of controversial video review decisions ultimately proved the difference in a physical, tightly contested affair.

Chicago’s 33rd-minute goal came just after the assistant referee initially raised his flag for offside. But after a video review, Bianca St. Georges was deemed onside right before she slotted home.

Racing players vehemently protested the call, but it stood to give Chicago the lead. Replays showed it was an extremely close decision either way.

In the second half, Louisville thought they earned a penalty when Savannah DeMelo was taken down hard in the box. But again, VAR overturned the decision after an agonizing four-minute review.

“It was tough for us for two reasons,” said coach Kim Björkegren. “We missed a potential penalty and we were playing so well at that moment, and it took over four minutes. We lost a bit of the momentum there.”

Those two moments ultimately swung the result in Chicago’s favor on a night Racing had the better of the play and chances.

The visitors racked up 22 shots, five on target, and controlled possession for stretches. But Louisville couldn’t find an elusive equalizer.

“In the second half, we played like ourselves, putting on a lot of pressure,” noted DeMelo. “We have to play like that for 90 minutes. It can’t just be a half.”

Kayla Fischer and Elli Pikkujamsa both struck the woodwork in the first 30 minutes as Racing started brightly. Nadia Nadim and Thembi Kgatlana later had quality looks to level.

But the soccer gods did not smile on Louisville in this pivotal road clash. Days after training hometown hero Rose Lavelle, Chicago dealt Racing’s playoff quest a mighty blow.

The loss leaves Louisville on 24 points with two games left, three points shy of the final playoff place. Racing failed to take advantage of other results going their way this weekend. 

While Björkegren’s group can’t dwell on officiating decisions, it’s still a tough result to stomach given how close they came to a breakthrough at several junctures.

“I’m proud of our team in the second half,” said Björkegren. “We really kept fighting. We deserved more today. We had chances enough and situations enough to score one, two or three goals.”

In the end, controversial calls impacted both Chicago’s goal and Racing’s foiled penalty shout. But Louisville will rue their inability to find an equalizer and let the game stay in the balance.

The team’s frustrating scoring woes continued through a third straight match. With the season hanging in the balance, Racing must rediscover their finishing touch.

While their playoff fate is no longer fully in their own hands, Racing still has a fighting chance with two games left. The dream lives on, even if it now requires help from other results.

Björkegren’s side heads into a 10-day break before facing Orlando at home and Houston away to close out the regular season.

If Louisville can recapture the resilient spirit that defined much of their campaign, advancing remains plausible. But they no longer control their own destiny and have little margin for error.

Racing continues to show growth as a club despite the tough setbacks. This team never quit on Saturday night when the cards seemed stacked against them.

Their steady maturation under Björkegren means Louisville will be a force for years to come. But they have unfinished business yet in 2022.

Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of Racing Louisville and everything soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth. 

Author

  • Jimmie Martin

    Jimmie Martin is a charismatic soccer podcast host from Kentucky who passionately advocates for Promotion and Relegation in US Soccer. With infectious enthusiasm and a lighthearted sense of humor, he engages fellow enthusiasts on the Bluegrass Soccer Cast. Jimmie's goal is to promote the growth of soccer in the US while entertaining and educating his audience.

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