In a rollercoaster of a match, Racing Louisville fought back from a two-goal deficit to earn a stunning 3-2 win against the Orlando Pride on Friday.
Late in the first half, Savannah DeMelo earned a penalty that was converted by Nadia Nadim to bring the score to 2-1. In the 70th minute, Racing leveled when Carson Pickett sent a perfectly weighted ball into the run of Thembi Kgatlana who sent a low cross to Kirsten Davis who sent a sliding strike into the back of the net. In the 74th minute, an in-swinging corner kick from Pickett was punched into the back of the net by Orlando keeper Anna Moorhouse for a game-winning own goal.
The importance of this game for Racing cannot be overstated. Racing played with an urgency that they’ve lacked in some of their most recent matches and never seemed out of the game even when they were down by two. There’s no question there’s been a changed mentality this season. The execution hasn’t always been perfect, but the players clearly believe in themselves in a way they haven’t in past years and that alone is a huge step forward for this club.
As a result of this win, Racing keeps their season alive with only one game remaining in the regular season. This win is historic for Racing in several ways. Not only does it keep them in the playoffs longer than they’ve ever managed, but this is also the first time Racing has ever earned five wins in the regular season or made it to 27 points.
The fact they’re even still in the playoff race is a huge accomplishment after two weeks in a row that saw them lose critical consecutive games to the Houston Dash at home and the Red Stars in Chicago. Injuries have certainly figured into these performances, with Jaelin Howell and Ary Borges out for multiple games with injury, Uchenna Kanu out due to suspension, and Wang Shuang out for international duty. Carson Pickett has also only recently returned after missing multiple games due to injury, so Racing hasn’t been playing at full strength. Even so, their performances have been inconsistent at best which makes the fact they could earn this critical win during their last home game even more special.
“We had to come here and leave everything, at least to thank the fans for all the support that they’ve given us throughout the season,” Kgatlana said. “I think it was fair enough for us to take every chance that we got. Some of the decisions were against us, especially in the first half, but we ended the first half…