Note: Apologies for being out of commission for the past few weeks. Due to vacation and general life complications, I missed recapping last week’s Angel City match. This recap will attempt to serve as an overview and analysis of both the Angel City and Gotham matches.
“A Tough Week”
In what has become a frustratingly familiar refrain, Racing Louisville earned another draw on Sunday night. This week, it was a 0-0 draw against NJ/NY Gotham on the road. Last week, it was a 1-1 comeback against Angel City at home for Racing’s Fill the Fam event. All in all, they now have nine draws on the season — more than any other team in the league. With the season winding down and only five games left to play, Racing remains in a very tight playoff race, but their chances to make up ground are quickly slipping away.
Some of Racing’s less-than-convincing performance can be tied to the fact that there’s been a lot of roster disruption these past two weeks. Against Angel City last week, Ary Borges, Uchenna Kanu, Wang Shuang, and Savannah DeMelo all returned for the first time since the World Cup. As great as it is for the team to have them back, most hadn’t played in more than a week and had been out of market for the better part of two months, so an adjustment period was necessary. Nadia Nadim also had her first start since returning from injury. Fast forward to Sunday against Gotham, and Nadim, Carson Pickett, and Jaelin Howell were all out with injuries. This pushed Elli Pikkujämsä up to fill the No. 6 position and slotted Rebecca Holloway and Julia Lester into the starting lineup.
“It was a tough week,” said Racing coach Kim Björkegren of the many changes. “I’m proud of our team and how hard they worked. I’m happy with one point even if we need three points. For today, one point is okay in an away game at Gotham.”
Björkegren calling the draws ‘okay’ is correct. They’re not good, but they’re not bad either. They’re just okay. However, this late in the season, okay is fast becoming not good enough and the team needs to shake off some of these lackluster performances and find more of a killer instinct.
This isn’t to say the matches were without positives, however. The fact Racing was able to get a comeback goal against Angel City thanks to the efforts of substitutes Maddie Pokorny and Kirsten Davis is big. Racing also started the match against Gotham poorly but turned it around dramatically immediately at the start of the…