LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You can never go wrong giving people what they came to see. Carli Lloyd did it, in the seventh minute of Gotham FC's visit to Racing Louisville FC on Thursday night.
Lloyd on the dribble shook two defenders and then left a pass for Ifeoma Onumonu in front of the goal. Racing goalkeeper Katie Lund stopped one attempt before Onumonu scored on the putback. For Lloyd, just two days removed from saying goodbye to the U.S. Women's National Team – for whom she has accumulated 316 caps and 34 goals – it was a fitting sendoff for a crowd of 6,508 that came to Lynn Family Stadium in part to watch her play one more time.
But the crowd no doubt also came to show its appreciation for a resilient Racing Louisville club, which can lay claim to being one of the more successful expansion sides in NWSL history, even though it has been eliminated from playoff contention.
Racing, unfortunately, is accustomed to giving up quick goals. It also is making a habit of coming back, as it did Thursday behind a CeCe Kizer goal – off the first NWSL assist from Katie McClure – in the 52nd minute.
The game ended in a 1-1 tie. The two teams will play one more time on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both.
"I think it is a testament to our resilience,” Kizer said. “I think that is something that a lot of us have talked about in the locker room, and that we want to have that identity of being a resilient team and you come into Louisville here and it’s a tough place to play. It’s not ideal to concede early, but I think for all of us it’s: They get one and we can put one right back.
“We know that we can counter quickly and get balls in the back of the net, and so I think that we need to continue that mindset into the Sunday game and into the next season."
On Thursday, Racing Louisville players said they were just pleased to be sharing the pitch with Lloyd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
"She’s an amazing player," McClure said. "Just watching the game, the last U.S. national team game, I kind of got a little teary eyed because I was sad for her, but she’s had a great, great career. Honestly proud that I stepped on the field with her, competed with her, and I think our team is too. It’s a great tie and I think that we go on Sunday and try to look for the win.”
The teams have met three times this season and tied each time. Kizer's goal was her sixth of the season, across all competitions.
“I thought it was a great way to end the season — well, end of our home fixtures,” interim coach Mario Sanchez said. “(I’m) extremely proud of the team. I think what people are starting to see is the character. Week in and week out I’ve continued to talk about the character of this team, and you know the last two games I think have exemplified what they’re about as human beings. To play teams that are fighting for the playoffs — to go a goal down and come back, it speaks volumes about them as people, about our players, about our culture that is being developed. Extremely proud of them and looking forward to Sunday to go at it again.”
After the match, Carli Lloyd was still signing autographs, still posing for photos, 45 minutes after the game.
Not a bad night. In its first season in Louisville, the NWSL gave fans what they wanted – and left them wanting more.
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.