Racing Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive With Gutsy Comeback Victory
(Photo: NWSL LLC)
Racing Louisville showed true heart and character on Friday night, rallying from two goals down to beat Orlando Pride 3-2 and keep their playoff hopes alive.
A dramatic win in the home finale sees 10th-place Louisville move within two points of the final playoff spot heading into the last matchday. It also snapped a 5-game winless run and 332-minute scoreless drought.
“It felt like everything was going the wrong direction for us, but we never gave up,” said coach Kim Björkegren. “The only thing I was talking about at halftime was that we are the better team, and we have to go for the win.”
With their season on the line, Racing displayed the fighting spirit that has defined their campaign. After falling behind early to goals from Marta and Kerry Abello, Louisville refused to quit.
Nadia Nadim pulled one back right before halftime from the penalty spot after Savannah DeMelo was fouled in the box. Nadim’s strike ended Racing’s epic goalless skid after nearly 4 hours.
The equalizer came in the 70th minute courtesy of a Kirsten Davis finish from Thembi Kgatlana’s perfect cross. Davis now has 5 goals in her breakout season.
Incredibly, Racing then took the lead just four minutes later when Orlando keeper Anna Moorhouse punched a corner into her own net. Suddenly a dramatic comeback was complete.
“We knew that to get three points, we had to suffer, to defend, to run forward, to use our chances, and I think the attitude was very good from the girls,” said Kgatlana.
The victory sets up a decisive final-day clash at San Diego next Sunday. A win could potentially see Louisville sneak into the playoffs on the last day.
While still needing help, Racing at least control their destiny again after showing impressive resolve. This team never loses belief even in dire straits.
“We had to come here and leave everything, at least to thank the fans for all the support they’ve given us,” noted Kgatlana.
The fighting display was the perfect way to close out the home slate and keep postseason dreams alive. Racing aims to carry the momentum into the finale.
Björkegren’s group is peaking at precisely the right time. With the pressure on, they delivered their best display in weeks.
Strong defensive work, slick passing sequences, and a wealth of chances sprinkled the performance. Racing played on the front foot against a quality opponent and reaped the rewards.
The lessons learned during a historic season are shining through now with the stakes highest. This young team continues rapid improvement.
While coming tantalizingly close to the playoffs before falling short would sting, this year will still resound as an immense success.
Racing has established themselves as a rising force while earning league-wide admiration. The football and fight are both legit.
But this group wants more and believes they belong in the postseason. One more inspired effort could make it happen.
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