Racing Louisville Can’t Complete Comeback in 2-1 Loss to Washington

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May 10, 2024 – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
Racing Louisville FC News Release

Racing Louisville FC's Kayla Fischer versus Washington Spirit's Gabrielle Carle
Racing Louisville FC’s Kayla Fischer versus Washington Spirit’s Gabrielle Carle
(Racing Louisville FC)

Savannah DeMelo scored a spectacular free-kick goal just before halftime, but Racing Louisville fell, 2-1, to the Washington Spirit on Friday night at Lynn Family Stadium.

The loss was Racing’s first at home this season and second in a row, but coach Bev Yanez focused her postgame reaction on her team’s strong second-half performance. Racing outshot Washington, 15-8, and tripled Washington’s touches in the opposing box, but the Louisvillians couldn’t break through for an equalizing goal despite heavy pressure on the Spirit.

“Obviously we wanted to walk away with points,” Yanez said. “I thought after halftime – the way that we started the second half, the way that we completed in the second half – showed everything about our group. I thought there were moments in the first half of brilliance, and I thought there were moments that we need to work on. But the second half for me is who we are. It’s our identity in every way, shape and form, and that’s the standard.”

Friday’s defeat was only the third time that Racing Louisville (1-2-5, 8 points) has lost in its last 17 home games. Yanez’s team started the 2024 campaign on a six-match unbeaten run to move into playoff position in the NWSL’s new eight-team field, but the back-to-back losses nudged Racing to 10th place, albeit with 18 matches and six more months of the season to go.

Like their coach, Racing’s players left encouraged by the team’s performance. DeMelo had a 26th-minute penalty kick parried by Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, but she bounced back in first-half stoppage time with a laser of a free-kick goal from 25 yards out, curling a right-footed effort past a sprawling Kingsbury to halve Racing’s deficit.

Rookie Emma Sears consistently caused problems down both flanks, making a game-high 13 touches in the opponent’s penalty area while taking four shots and creating two chances for teammates. Her right-footed effort from 15 yards out fizzed past the far post in the 58th minute, just missing the chance to tie the game.

“It is upsetting we didn’t come away with three points, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not very proud of the group,” said veteran defender Arin Wright. “Anyone who watched the broadcast or watched it here live knows that this team controlled that game. For us to not come away with…

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