Racing Seeks Statement Win Against League-Leading Portland
Racing Louisville returns home to host NWSL-leading Portland on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM ET.
Louisville enters the contest just three points shy of the playoff places after grinding out a 0-0 road draw at Gotham last weekend. Now they’ll aim for a signature win over the Thorns.
“We love playing in front of our home crowd and have a good record at Lynn Family Stadium this season,” said coach Kim Björkegren. “It will be a tough test against the champions but we are ready for the challenge.”
Racing sits 9th in the table but the playoff picture remains extremely tight. Only 12 points separate Portland in 1st and Chicago in 12th. Each result carries major weight at this stage.
Louisville is undefeated over its last four games and conceded just one goal during that stretch. Goalkeeper Katie Lund and center-backs Abby Erceg and Julia Lester have led a resolute backline.
That defensive solidarity will be tested against Portland’s vaunted attack. Forward Sophia Smith leads the league with 11 goals but could miss out through injury.
Racing midfielder Savannah DeMelo is also absent while serving a suspension. But Louisville still has plenty of weapons including the speedy duo of Paige Monaghan and Uchenna Kanu.
This home tilt is Racing’s third matchup ever against Portland. The Thorns earned 2-0 and 7-2 victories over Louisville in the clubs’ prior meetings.
But this season’s Racing outfit has proven capable of competing with anyone, especially in the friendly confines of Lynn Family Stadium.
“We’ve built a strong home-field advantage and the crowd will give us a lift against the champions,” said defender Carson Pickett. Pickett, along with DeMelo, Howell, and Baggett will all be out for Saturday night’s tussle with Portland.
Racing has scored multiple goals in eight home games this campaign. Finding the back of the net will likely be required to take down Portland.
But the team’s identity under Björkegren begins with defensive discipline and intensity. If Louisville can disrupt Portland’s rhythm, they have a shot.
With only five regular season games remaining, the stakes couldn’t be higher. A win over the league leaders would emphatically announce Racing as a legit playoff contender.
Expect an electric atmosphere under the Lynn Family Stadium lights. If Louisville brings their best, even if they are playing shorthanded, this rising team can hang with anyone.
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(Photo: NWSL Live Content Creator)