In one of their grittiest performances to date, Racing Louisville scrapped out a point in a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit on Saturday night.
After the match, head coach Kim Björkegren was emphatic with his praise saying, “It was amazing. I’m so happy to work with this group of people. The energy they have, they never give up. When we needed to change, play 4-4-1 in the end, they did it. They kept fighting. They worked hard together. One point away in Washington is not bad – I’m extremely proud of them.”
After going down a goal in only the third minute, Louisville was kept on the back foot through much of the first half. They were able to play their way into the match, however, after the 20th minute or so and kept things level going into the second half. Only minutes into the second half, Ary Borges was fouled in the box and Racing was awarded a penalty. Savannah DeMelo calmly converted it to find the equalizer.
— Racing Louisville FC (@RacingLouFC) June 4, 2023
Everything stayed even until the 76th minute when newly subbed in center-back Elli Pikkujämsä took down Trinity Rodman just in front of the box and was given a straight red. Down to only 10 players, Racing defended with everything they had. A few defensive subs helped them bunker down further and a stoppage time goal line save by Carson Pickett ultimately earned Racing a hard-fought point on the road.
“We’re obviously happy with the draw,” said defender Abby Erceg after the match. “One point against one of the top teams with 10 men for 20 minutes – we’ll take that.”
In particular, Erceg said she was “really, really proud” of the team’s ability to hold on to the draw for 20 minutes while down a man – especially coming at the end of the three-game week.
“It’s tough. It’s a really tough situation to be in and I think the girls handled it really well.”
Racing has only lost once in their last four games in the regular season. Across all competition, they’ve lost once in their last six games. While they’re still having trouble getting all three points from teams above them in the standings, the fact they were able to get a point off of the Spirit who are (as of Sunday morning) third in the standings and only a few points out of first place.
Still, Racing has not been able to make any progress up the table and remain in eighth…