Racing Louisville Aims to Seal Semifinal Spot in Challenge Cup Clash with Houston

Racing Louisville FC is on the cusp of securing a spot in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals as they take on the Houston Dash at Shell Energy Stadium on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. With a perfect record of 4 wins in 4 games, Racing sits atop the Central Division, and a victory, draw, or favorable results from other matches will cement their place in the semifinals.

The match will be streamed on Paramount+, allowing fans to witness what could be a historic moment for Racing Louisville. The team’s dominant form was evident in their last game against Chicago, where they secured a 2-0 victory, registering their third clean sheet in the tournament.

In their previous encounter with Houston on June 14, Racing emerged victorious with a commanding 3-0 win. Goals from Kayla Fischer, Savannah DeMelo, and Parker Goins kick-started Racing’s impressive run, leading to a remarkable 4-1-1 record in all competitions since then.

While Racing is in prime position to advance, Houston still has a chance to secure a semifinal spot, but they must win their remaining matches and rely on other teams’ results to progress.

Both teams will be affected by player absences due to the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Racing has six players representing their countries, including Savannah DeMelo (USA), Uchenna Kanu (Nigeria), Ary Borges (Brazil), Alex Chidiac (Australia), Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa), and Wang Shuang (China). Houston also has six representatives, such as Andressa Alves (Brazil), Allysha Chapman (Canada), Nichelle Prince (Canada), Sophie Schmidt (Canada), Havana Solaun (Jamaica), and Michelle Alozie (Nigeria).

What to Watch for:

  1. Jaelin Howell’s Strong Performance: Racing Louisville’s captain has been exceptional in the Challenge Cup, ranking among the top players in interceptions, aerial duels won, duels won, and recoveries. Howell’s defensive prowess has contributed to Racing’s three clean sheets and only two goals conceded in the competition.
  1. Katie Lund’s Goalkeeping: Last year’s NWSL saves leader, Katie Lund, has continued her exceptional form in 2023, leading the league in saves and ranking second in save percentage across all competitions. She has been a formidable presence in the Challenge Cup, leading all goalkeepers with three clean sheets and only six shots on target faced.
  1. Paige Monaghan’s Milestones: Racing’s newcomer, Paige Monaghan, has been in top form, setting new personal bests with her performances. With four goals and two assists across all competitions, Monaghan has shown her goal-scoring abilities and become the first NWSL player to start 20 Challenge Cup games in league history.
  1. Chasing the Trophy: Racing’s perfect run in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup positions them as strong contenders for the title. As the only team with 100% points from their games, they are making a compelling case to host a Cup semifinal on September 6. The $1 million prize pool will be shared among all participants, with additional incentives for the semifinalists, finalists, and winners.
  1. Global Representation: Racing Louisville stands out in NWSL history as the first club to feature players from six different continents on its roster. With representation from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America, the team truly embodies the global spirit of women’s soccer.

As Racing Louisville FC and Houston Dash battle for victory, the excitement of the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup continues to unfold, promising an enthralling showdown between two top-performing teams. The journey to the semifinals is within Racing’s grasp, and fans eagerly await to witness their possible triumph in this prestigious competition.

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. 

(Photo: Madeline Mullenbach)


  • 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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