Racing Aim for First Trophy In Challenge Cup Final Showdown With Courage
Photo By Racing Louisville FC
Racing Louisville have a chance to lift their first piece of silverware on Saturday when they face the North Carolina Courage in the Challenge Cup final. Kickoff is set for 12:30pm ET at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
The match will be nationally televised on CBS and caps a historic week for Racing. Last Saturday, Louisville recorded their highest ever point total in the regular season. Then on Wednesday, the club won their first ever knockout match by defeating OL Reign 1-0 to reach the Challenge Cup final.
Now Racing aim to continue their landmark run under coach Kim Björkegren by toppling the Courage.
“We’ve made history just by reaching the final in our third season,” said defender Abby Erceg. “It shows how far this club has come in a short time. Now we want to finish the job and lift the trophy.”
North Carolina are defending Challenge Cup champions and have dominated Racing historically, boasting an 8-0 all-time record in the series. But Louisville enter with confidence after big wins over Portland and OL Reign.
Goalkeeper Katie Lund and defenders Erceg, Julia Lester and Carson Pickett will need to put in a staunch defensive display to slow North Carolina’s dynamic attack.
At the other end, Racing will look to get forward Kirsten Davis and midfielder Savannah DeMelo in dangerous areas to unlock the Courage back line.
Louisville’s speedy wingers like Paige Monaghan and Thembi Kgatlana could also cause problems for North Carolina on the counter attack.
This is uncharted territory for Racing as a young club. But the quick maturation of the team under Björkegren means they expect to compete in finals like this.
“We know it will be difficult facing the champions and overcoming our history with North Carolina,” said DeMelo. “But on our day, we are capable of beating any team when we play to our potential.”
With silverware on the line, Louisville will need to summon that extra focus and desire on Saturday to get their first win over the Courage and hoist their first tropy. The team’s veterans must lead the group and I believe they will. This team has Uncle Mo (aka momemtum) on their side and they will be hard to stop.
But this rising squad has proven up for big moments all campaign long. Now, Racing aim to make club history and usher in a new era in style.
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