Welcome to your match thread as the Orlando Pride (5-7-6, 21 points) look to end a two-game losing streak in Kentucky, where they’ve traveled to face Racing Louisville FC (2-8-8, 14 points). This is the second and final game that the two teams will play this season.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s game.
This is only the second season of existence for Racing Louisville. The two teams have played five times so far, with the Pride going 1-1-3 (1-1-2 in NWSL games and 0-0-1 in the NWSL Challenge Cup). This is only the third time the two teams will play in Louisville and the second time in NWSL regular-season play.
The most recent meeting between the two teams was on July 3 at Daytona International Speedway. The game was a part of the 2022 Daytona SoccerFest and was the first time a soccer game was played at a racetrack. Emina Ekic gave Louisville a halftime lead and Savannah DeMelo doubled the lead in the 51st minute. However, the Pride fought back with goals by Kylie Strom and Darian Jenkins, pulling out a 2-2 draw. The game launched a seven-game unbeaten run that pulled the Pride back into the playoff race.
The first year the two teams met was last season and the first game came during the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup in Louisville. CeCe Kizer gave the hosts the lead in the 12th minute but Taylor Kornieck equalized just before halftime. It looked like the Pride would win when Abi Kim scored in the 88th minute but Brooke Hendrix equalized three minutes into second-half injury time and the teams drew 2-2.
The teams played three times in the regular season with the first meeting coming on July 9 in Orlando. Ebony Salmon gave Louisville the lead in the 21st minute but Sydney Leroux pulled out a 1-1 draw with a goal in second-half injury time. The second meeting was on Sept. 11 in Orlando. The Pride took a 2-0 lead into the break with goals by Leroux and Marta. Kizer got one back in the 51st minute, but Alex Morgan’s 65th-minute conversion sealed three points for the Pride.
The final meeting of last season was in the penultimate game of the year for both teams. The Pride needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and they got off to a good start when Jodie Taylor scored in the third minute. However, the game slipped away as Salmon and Katie McClure scored on either side of halftime and Yuki Nagasato made the final 3-1.
On Aug. 20, the Pride beat NJ/NY Gotham FC 2-1 for their second consecutive win and a seven-game unbeaten run. They then returned home to face two difficult tests in OL Reign and the Portland Thorns. After Meggie Dougherty Howard gave the Pride the lead against OL Reign, Bethany Balcer equalized in the 54th minute and Megan Rapinoe won it for the visitors in second-half injury time.
The following game saw one of the league’s best teams come to town and it was a dominant performance by Portland. The Pride didn’t even build an offensive attack until the 36th minute when they were already down 1-0. The Pride were able to gain some meaningful possession at the end of each half, but the Thorns ended up with a deserved 2-0 win.
When the Pride welcomed OL Reign to Orlando, the team was within touching distance of the sixth and final playoff spot. The two recent losses have pushed the Pride down to ninth in the league and seven points behind the Reign for the final playoff spot. They’re also now behind the North Carolina Courage as well as Angel City FC, making it unlikely that the Pride will qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2017.
Tonight the Pride will face Racing Louisville, a club that hasn’t won since May 22. In that 13-game stretch, Louisville is 0-7-6. Tonight’s opponent is currently on a two-game losing streak, having lost 4-0 to the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 27 and 5-1 to the Courage on Sept. 10.
On the attacking end, Louisville is led by its Danish international forward, Nadia Nadim, who has five goals, and DeMelo, who has scored three times this year. Unsurprisingly, Jessica McDonald has been key to the team’s attacking successes this year, assisting three goals and scoring two herself.
Katie Lund has started 18 games in goal for Louisville this season and has been under constant attack. Louisville has conceded 31 goals this year, tied for second most with the Pride and only trailing Gotham FC, which has conceded 37 times. However, Lund leads the league with 86 saves, 25 more than Erin McLeod, who sits in second with 61 saves.
“(We’re expecting) a reaction from our last game. We weren’t ourselves and the players understood that and they’re all very excited to play against Louisville. It’s a great opportunity for us to bounce back and get three points,” Interim Head Coach Seb Hines said. “Every game is a must win right now. It’s one game at a time. We look at Louisville and know that we must get three points and then we look at the other results and see how that pans out.”
The Pride have six players out for tonight’s game, including Kaylie Collins (wrist), Caitlin Cosme (knee), Erin McLeod (concussion protocol), Marta (knee), Viviana Villacorta (ankle), and Chelsee Washington (ankle). The only players out for Louisville is Julia Lester (head).
Orlando Pride (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Anna Moorhouse.
Defenders: Haley Hanson, Megan Montefusco, Toni Pressley, Kylie Strom.
Midfielders: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Mikayla Cluff, Jordyn Listro.
Forwards: Darian Jenkins, Julie Doyle, Erika Tymrak.
Bench: Kelly Rowswell, Gunny Jonsdottir, Ally Watt, Courtney Petersen, Kerry Abello, Celia, Carrie Lawrence, Leah Pruitt, Thais Reiss.
Racing Louisville FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Katie Lund.
Defenders: Emily Fox, Satara Murray, Gemma Bonner, Lauren Milliet.
Midfielders: Jaelin Howell, Wang Shang, Savannah DeMelo.
Forwards: Emina Eric, Nadia Nadim, Jessica McDonald.
Bench: Jordyn Bloomer, Kelsey Daugherty, Rebecca Holloway, Nealy Martin, Zaneta Wyne, Alex Chidiac, Taylor Malham, Kirsten Davis, Parker Goins.
REF: Anya Voigt.
AR1: Chris Schurfranz.
AR2: Jennifer Dumaine.
4TH: Erin Patterson.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Lynn Family Stadium — Louisville, KY.
Streaming: Paramount+ (USA), Twitch (International).
Enjoy the match. Go Pride!