Looking to continue its positive momentum to start the 2022 campaign, Racing Louisville FC hosts the Houston Dash for its regular-season home opener at 8 p.m. Saturday at Lynn Family Stadium.
Racing is coming off a 2-2 draw against Seattle’s OL Reign where the two teams traded leads. Forward Jess McDonald netted her second goal in lavender and the 52nd of her NWSL career, and rookie midfielder Savannah DeMelo created an own goal off her set piece delivery from 30 yards out.
As for the Dash, they enter Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record, earning their first win of the season this past Sunday with a 2-0 victory at Kansas City.
This match marks the third meeting this year between Racing and the Dash. Houston won the first two games, both in the preseason Challenge Cup, beating Racing 3-2 in Louisville on March 25 and 2-1 in Houston on April 24. McDonald and rookie forward Kirsten Davis scored for Racing in the first matchup, while rookie midfielder Jaelin Howell registered her first professional goal in Houston.
Last year, Racing found most of its success at home, claiming four of its five wins at Lynn Family Stadium. The club scored three more goals and conceded 11 fewer in home matches compared to road games.
Racing’s Lynn Family Stadium is also home to the USL Championship club Louisville City FC and is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the region, with chairback seats for 11,600 fans and a capacity of 15,304. The stadium hosted the 2021 NWSL Championship.
• The game will be streamed live on Twitch.
Player availability report
• Hillary Beall (questionable, neck)
• Gemma Bonner (questionable, illness)
• Emily Fox (questionable, left leg)
• Rebecca Holloway (questionable, illness)
• Jaelin Howell (questionable, left foot)
• Julia Lester (questionable, illness)
• Nadia Nadim (out, right leg)
• Freja Olofsson (questionable, illness)
Holloway arrives: Recent signing Rebecca Holloway began training this week with Racing. The left-footed outside back arrives in Louisville following her time with FA WSL club Birmingham City. While representing her national team, Northern Ireland, Holloway has logged three goals and three assists in 2023 World Cup qualifying as the Green and White Army tries to qualify for its first World Cup.
Another addition: As with Holloway, midfielder Alex Chidiac will also be newly available for selection Saturday. The Australian national teamer has been in Louisville a bit longer, making it to town after the latest international window. The longtime professional, still only 23, has played in her home country, Japan and Spain, most recently helping Australian powerhouse Melbourne Victory to an A-League title.
McDonald’s Mother’s Day gift: Against the Reign, McDonald opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when she received a pass from Cece Kizer at the top of the box and curled her shot into the top right corner. That marked her second goal across all competitions for Racing since signing in the offseason.
DeMelo’s delivery: For the second match in a row, DeMelo created scoring chances through her set piece delivery. In Racing’s regular-season opener against Chicago, the rookie’s free kick rattled the post. On Sunday against the Reign, DeMelo’s 60th-minute free kick from out wide created an own goal for Racing, bouncing in the box and eventually off a defender.
Kizer connects: The 24-year-old forward continues build on her breakout first season with Racing. Through two regular-season matches, she already has a pair of assists, matching her output from 2021.
Swiss Army knife Milliet: Lauren Milliet continued to show her versatility for Racing, starting at left back in place of the injured Emily Fox in Sunday’s match in Seattle. She tallied three interceptions and drew three fouls. So far this year, Milliet has played outside back, winger and central midfield in eight appearances.
Second-half shutouts: Led by center backs Gemma Bonner and Julia Lester, Racing’s back line has managed to hold opponents scoreless over the final 45 minutes in six straight matches — all since conceding a 2-0 halftime lead against the Dash during the Challenger Cup. Bonner and Lester have remained consistent throughout this run, playing every minute.