Racing Stars at the World Cup
Racing Louisville is represented well at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with 6 players representing 6 national teams – an NWSL record. For those that do not know, those 6 players are – Australian midfielder Alex Chidiac, Brazilian forward Ary Borges, Chinese midfielder Wang Shuang, Nigerian forward Uchenna Kanu, South African forward Thembi Kgatlana, and U.S. midfielder Savannah DeMelo. This World Cup will also be the first for Chidiac, Borges, and DeMelo. For the experienced Racing stars, the 2023 World Cup will mark the 3rd for Shuang and the 2nd for Kanu and Kgatlana.
Due to the time difference, with many games being played in the early hours of the morning for EST/CST for those of us in Kentucky and the task of having to keep up with 6 different national teams, we at Bluegrass Soccer Cast will be provided a weekly report of how each Racing star is doing at the World Cup. This report will come out after the 6 national teams play the final game of each stage and will be in the order the games were played.
This report is the Racing Louisville player update for the opening round of games at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. FotMob and OneFootball will provide player ratings.
Australia 1 – 0 Republic of Ireland
Ratings – N/A
Chidiac did not see the field in Australia’s opening match against Ireland. The Matildas secured the victory thanks to a penalty in the 52nd minute by Stephanie Catley in front of a home crowd of 75,784 at Stadium Australia.
Australia’s next match will be on Thursday, July 27th, against Kanu’s Nigeria at Brisbane Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6 am EST/5 am CST. The game will be the only time that Racing players’ respective countries face off against one another in the group stages.
Nigeria 0 – 0 Canada
FotMob – 6.6
OneFootball – 6.2
Kanu came on as a sub for the Super Falcons in the 73rd minute for Francisca Ordega. In her brief time on the pitch, Kanu got 13 touches, completed 4/6 of her passes with 1 pass into the final third, won both her tackles with 2 recoveries, and all 4 of her ground duels but lost her singular aerial duel. The match was played at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in front of 21,410 fans.
Nigeria’s next match will be on Thursday, July 27th, against Chidiac’s Australia at Brisbane Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6 am EST/5 am CST.
United States 3 – 0 Vietnam
FotMob – 7.7
OneFootball – 8.8
DeMelo shined bright in her second-ever cap and first start for the USWNT (side note, we need to develop better nicknames for the U.S. national teams besides USWNT and USMNT.) Getting a surprise start, DeMelo completed 12 out of 13 passes with 3 passes into the final third, created 2 chances, got 1 shot on goal, was 2 for 6 on crosses, and was very sound defensively before being subbed off in the 61st minute for Rose Lavelle. The match was played at Eden Park in front of 41,107 fans.
Denmark 1 – 0 China PR
FotMob – 6.5
OneFootball – 3.2
Shuang entered the match to start the 2nd half for the Steel Roses, coming in for Zhang Xin. She struggled in this matchup but was better than OneFootball has her rated. She completed 13 out of 21 passes and was 1 for 3 for shots on target, but she did struggle with the long ball, having not connected on her 2 crosses and 1 long pass. She was decent defensively in the match played at Perth Rectangular Stadium in front of 16,989 fans.
China PR square off against Haiti in their next match on Friday, July 28th, at Hindmarsh Stadium; kickoff is scheduled for 7 am EST/6 am CST.
Sweden 2 – 1 South Africa
FotMob – 6.4
OneFootball – 3.2
Kgatlana played the full 90 for the Banyana Banyana in the pouring rain and is another that OneFootball is being overly harsh towards. While not picking up an assist, her shot in the 48th minute was blocked. Then her teammate Hildah Magaia secured the rebound to give South Africa an early 2nd half lead. That shot was Kgatlana’s only shot on target. Still, she was 7 for 10 on passes, 1 for 2 on successful dribbles, and made 2 recoveries defensively. However, she was caught offsides 3 times and did commit 2 fouls. The match was played at Wellington Regional Stadium in front of 18,317 fans.
South Africa will face Argentina in their next match on Thursday, July 27th, at Dunedin Stadium; kickoff is set for 8 pm EST/7 pm CST.
Brazil 4 – 0 Panama
FotMob – 9.8
OneFootball – 10
Borges decided to get her World Cup career started with a bang by completing the tournament’s first hat trick and getting an assist to contribute to every single goal of the As Canarinhas opening match. Borges became the first Brazilian to score a hat trick in their World Cup debut. Her night would end in the 75th minute when she was subbed off for Brazilian legend Marta. Borges did not just score goals; however, she completed 41 out of 43 passes, creating 5 chances, and completed 3 out of 7 of her crosses. The match was played at Hindmarsh Stadium in front of 13,142 fans.
And that wraps up the first edition of Racing Stars at the World Cup. Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of Racing Louisville and all things soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth.
Photo by Racing Louisville FC