Racing Louisville came back from behind to score two unanswered to win 2-1 against the Kansas City Current on Friday night in a win that keeps their playoff hopes alive.
At first, Racing found themselves coming out on the back foot and conceded a penalty in the first 10 minutes after an attempted clearance by Abby Erceg ricocheted off of Jaelin Howell’s hand. Racing didn’t let this rattle them, however, and Erceg nearly found the equalizer only a few minutes later when she bodied in a cross. The goal was disallowed, however — it’s unclear if it was because it went off her arm or because it was offside, though — but Racing stayed with it and Elli Pikkujämsä brought things level with a shot through traffic only six minutes later.
“It feels amazing,” Pikkujämsä said of scoring her first-ever NWSL goal. “I was so excited – maybe everyone saw that…I got a nice and slow ball and I saw a little gap for a nice hard shot. That’s it, and then I needed to make sure it went in. I took my time and saw it went in, and then I ran my ass off.”
Racing kept the momentum up through the end of the first half and came out just as hot in the second as Paige Monaghan scored a world-class goal only a minute in. A beautiful ball from Kayla Fischer switched the sides of the attack near midfield and found Monaghan who drove forward, put the Kansas City defenders on skates, and drove a screamer of a goal into the top right corner in an incredible solo effort. This was Monaghan’s second goal in consecutive games.
Louisville continued to control the match through the rest of the half and earned a huge win that moves them up to seventh place in the standings and only a single point away from a playoff spot — pending the outcome of Saturday’s match between the Washington Spirit and sixth place San Diego Wave. This is the best possible position for Racing to be in heading into an extended regular season break during the World Cup and gives them the momentum they need to continue their excellent Challenge Cup performance in the meantime.
“I am extremely proud,” Racing coach Kim Björkegren said. “It was such an important game for us. … We talked about it and said, ‘We need to win today if we want to be a top-six team,’ so there was only one way to go.”
As a result of this win, Racing has completed their first-ever perfect record against an opponent in the regular season. If they win against Kansas City in August for their last…