Racing Louisville finished up the postseason tournament in Portland by taking on the United States U23s on Saturday night.
Racing got on the board first with a goal from Elli Pikkujämsä in the 14th minute. After a set piece clearance was collected, Milliet sent the ball back in and Pikkujämsä’s well-timed run allowed her to get a head on it and send it past Neeku Purcell, the U23 keeper. In the 24th minute, the U23s managed to find an equalizer in courtesy of UCLA’s Reilyn Turner. Racing found the game-winner in the 35th minute, however, after Savannah DeMelo’s sliding cross found Uchenna Kanu in front of goal. Kanu found the back of the net despite a hard challenge from Purcell that kept Kanu down for a brief moment. In the final minutes of the first half, Wang Shuang sent in a cross to find the head of Ary Borges who managed to knock in the goal despite getting hit hard in the face by Purcell. This second infraction earned Purcell a yellow.
Racing rotated heavily in the second half but managed to keep the score level despite the U23s bringing some serious challenges. Keeper Jordyn Bloomer, who subbed in during the half to replace Kelsey Daugherty, made some big saves including a huge kick save to keep the game level in the 71st minute. The match ended 3-1 with Racing securing their second win of the tournament.
This is Racing’s final preseason match before the start of the regular season and they should, once again, be happy with their performance.
The fact that they got three goals with each coming from a new acquisition definitely bodes well for Louisville. This was Kanu’s first start after only joining the team on Tuesday. She is likely going to be the centerpiece of Racing’s attack in the new season, so to have her already on the board – even in preseason – is a particularly good sign.
It’s also worth noting that Racing came very close to scoring at least a couple more goals. The scoreline could have easily been 4-1 or 5-1. Wang Shuang missed wide by inches in the first half and also hit the crossbar. Abby Erceg – who wore the captain’s band through the first half before handing it off to Lauren Milliet after being subbed off – also had a good chance, but her header off a corner kick went just over the bar.
Racing has, like all NWSL teams in the tournament, used this series to test depth. This…
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