Racing Louisville FC hits the road this weekend for a 5 p.m. Sunday meeting with NJ/NY Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
Racing (1-1-2, 5 points) enters on a three-match unbeaten streak and comes off its first win of the regular season, a 1-0 midweek victory against the first-place San Diego Wave. That performance followed a 1-1 home-opening draw against Houston, and both results came despite Racing missing multiple regular starters under COVID-19 protocols.
Now Racing brings that momentum to New Jersey, where Gotham (1-1-0, 3 points) is unexpectedly hosting its home opener. Last weekend’s scheduled game at Red Bull Arena was postponed because both Gotham and the visiting North Carolina Courage were struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks.
The hosts beat the Orlando Pride, 3-0, in Florida to start their regular-season campaign, but San Diego throttled them, 4-0, a week later in California.
Gotham is led by U.S Women’s National Team regulars Midge Purce and Kristie Mewis as well as reigning NWSL defender of the year Caprice Dydasco and two-time World Cup winners and NWSL veterans Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger.
Sunday marks the first meeting between the two clubs in 2022 after they drew all four matchups against one other last season.
Racing, however, is a remade bunch this year.
Rookies Savannah DeMelo and Jaelin Howell, two of the top four picks in the NWSL Draft, have impressed in the midfield, with DeMelo’s 27-yard free kick goal against San Diego standing as the game-winner. Offseason signing Jess McDonald, one of the most accomplished players in NWSL history, has also netted two goals.
Goalkeeper Katie Lund, in her second year with Racing but first as its No. 1, posted her first shutout of the regular season against San Diego after racking up two in NWSL Challenge Cup action.
Kickoff in Harrison, N.J., is scheduled for just past 5 p.m. ET. Those unable to attend the match can stream it on Paramount+ or internationally on Twitch.
• The game will broadcast live on Paramount+ in the United States and on Twitch internationally.
Player availability report
- Emina Ekic (out, left foot)
- Nadia Nadim (out, right leg)
Chidiac debuts: Midfielder Alex Chidiac made her first NWSL appearance on Wednesday, starting in Racing’s midfield and playing 81 minutes. The Australian international registered two tackles and the second-highest passing accuracy at 84%.
Sav scores: Prior to the San Diego game, DeMelo had contributed to just about every stat category except for the scoresheet. She rectified that on Wednesday when she hammered in a free kick from 25 yards out after drawing the foul moments earlier. The rookie midfielder has been a standout through four matches, playing as both a defensive midfielder and winger.
Clean sheet Katie: Goalkeeper Katie Lund registered her first regular season shutout against San Diego, recording four saves. Prior to Wednesday, the Plano, Texas, native registered two shutouts during the Challenge Cup – against the Chicago Red Stars (March 30) and Kansas City Current (April 2).
Fox rocks: Defender Emily Fox continues to cement herself as one of the best defenders in the NWSL for her play on both sides of the ball. On Wednesday, she logged four interceptions, six final third entries and won possession a match-high 14 times.
Wins-day: Before Wednesday’s result against the Wave, Racing had struggled against midweek opponents. In the seven previous games on Wednesdays or Thursdays in the club’s existence, Louisville held an 0-4-3 record.
Draws aplenty: Games between Racing and Gotham have tended to be evenly matched. Last year, the two clubs tied in all four of their meetings: a scoreless game in the NWSL Challenge Cup, a 1-1 result in New Jersey in August and two, back-to-back 1-1 draws to finish out the season.
Hi, Michelle: Racing will face one of its first-year fan favorites on Sunday in goalkeeper Michelle Betos, who captained the club’s inaugural team. This year with Gotham, Betos so far has made one start in a 1-1 draw against the North Carolina Courage in the Challenge Cup. In that match, she tallied six saves.