Playoff-Chasing Racing Out for Revenge in Chicago After Costly Home Loss
(Photo: David Mucker)
Racing Louisville hits the road for a critical clash with the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday night (Paramount+, 8 PM ET) as the playoff race comes down to the wire. Sitting 9th and just two points shy of the final postseason place, Louisville can hardly afford another slip-up with only three games remaining.
The Red Stars dealt Racing’s playoff hopes a serious blow by stealing a 1-0 victory at Lynn Family Stadium back on May 7. Now Louisville goes to SeatGeek Stadium seeking revenge while keeping their season alive.
“We all remember that tough home loss to Chicago,” said defender Carson Pickett. “It left a bitter taste. We have a chance to avenge it now and get three crucial points.”
These teams are no strangers in 2022, having already met three previous times. Racing won both Challenge Cup group stage matches by 3-0 scorelines. Then came the painful regular-season defeat on home turf.
So while Chicago is unquestionably a beatable opponent, especially on the road where they’ve won just twice, Louisville knows better than to overlook them.
“Chicago is fighting for their playoff lives just like we are,” noted coach Kim Björkegren. “We need maximum intensity and sharpness for 90 minutes.”
That lack of edge cost Racing two weeks ago in an inexcusable home loss to Houston. The team simply must respond better on the road, where they’ve earned just one victory all season.
The attack seemingly has goals in them on any given night. Six different players have scored against Chicago in the three meetings this year. Forwards like Savannah DeMelo and Paige Monaghan have the creativity to unlock the defense.
At the other end, keeper Katie Lund and center backs Abby Erceg and Julia Lester must stay focused for a full 90 minutes. The veteran leadership of Erceg especially will prove critical.
But in a game with so much at stake, it’s simply about desire and leaving it all on the field. Racing has more talent across the board than Chicago and showed it earlier this year.
With the regular season winding down, Louisville remains right in the thick of the playoff fight. But their margin for error is gone.
“We control our destiny, but only if we get results in these last three games,” said midfielder Jaelin Howell. “Our focus needs to be on getting three points on Saturday night.”
The team’s identity under Björkegren is clear – defensive solidarity, tidy possession, and lethal counters. Now it’s time to see that identity shine through with a season on the line.
Make no mistake, the pressure is squarely on as Racing battles for the first playoff berth in club history. But this team has proven capable of playing their best soccer in the biggest moments this campaign.
The steady growth and maturity of this young squad should serve them well with everything to play for. All the work done over the past nine months comes down to the next 270 minutes.
Racing took MLS champions NYCFC to the brink in the U.S. Open Cup and competed toe-to-toe with NWSL elites like the Thorns and Courage. Those experiences hardened this group.
With the postseason dream still alive, Louisville aims to end Chicago’s season once and for all on Saturday night. One team’s playoff hopes will take a mortal hit. Expect a cup final-type intensity in the Windy City. If Racing can summon their trademark resilience and fight, these three points will be theirs for the taking.
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