#Racing

Racing Grind Out Gritty Road Win to Reach Challenge Cup Final

Photo: Fahad Alotaibi, Bluegrass Soccer Cast

Racing Louisville is headed to the Challenge Cup FINAL!!!! The first opportunity in Racing’s franchise history to host a trophy and hang a banner at Lynn Family Stadium! 

After a hard-fought 1-0 victory over OL Reign in the semifinals on Wednesday night, Racing is moving on. In the 28th minute, Kirsten Davis scored the goal that secured the win for Racing. Davis pounced on a sloppy pass to intercept the ball and calmly sneak the ball past the Reign keeper was truly heroic. It marked the first time OL Reign conceded in the tournament.

From there, Racing relied on a gritty defensive display to see out the victory. Reign held advantages in shots (16-6) and possession but found chances hard to come by.

“It’s just about fighting spirit and working so hard to make sure we play in the final,” said coach Kim Björkegren. “They did an amazing job – all of them. I’m proud of the group.”

Goalkeeper Katie Lund was excellent, making two saves to record her 10th shutout across all competitions this season.

“We stuck together. We put our bodies on the line to block shots and keep things out of the way,” said Lund.

Center backs Abby Erceg and Julia Lester was immense, combining for 15 clearances and repeatedly heading away dangerous crosses. Despite missing captain Jaelin Howell to injury, the team defended resolutely and limited Reign to just two shots on target.

Racing now faces the North Carolina Courage in the Challenge Cup final on Saturday afternoon. It’s been a history-making year for the third-year club.

“I’m happy for the team – it was a gritty performance,” said Lund. “We’ve been through a lot, and this shows we have the grit and the fight.”

Reaching the knockout stage and now the final marks major progress for Racing. This young team is coming of age right before the fans’ eyes. This group heads into the final with confidence after taking down NWSL powers Portland and Reign over the past week.

If Racing can summon that same intensity and organization in the final, the Challenge Cup trophy could be headed to Derby City.

This squad’s growth under Björkegren has been rapid. On their day, Louisville has proven capable of beating anyone. But their job is not yet done. One more inspired team effort will see Racing lift their first piece of NWSL silverware.

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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