LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Racing Louisville FC opened its first regular season in National Women’s Soccer League competition by scoring a point – but not a goal. The 0-0 tie with Kansas City on Saturday was the club’s second straight clean sheet, going back to its NWSL Challenge Cup Finale at Gotham FC.
But coach Christy Holly’s expansion club still had trouble converting chances, especially early in the game. One of the best came when Savannah McCaskill got free along the baseline and sent a pass into the box that CeCe Kizer tried to lift over the head of the keeper, but sent it in just a bit high. Kizer had another chance late in the half on a through ball, but couldn’t shake the defense and the chance didn’t materialize.
“I think the first thing that we look at is another clean sheet. That’s back-to-back clean sheets. We limited them to a few good chances. They had Amy Rodriguez, Darian Jenkins, Mallory Weber and Victoria Pickett. To limit a team like that, and not only keep a clean sheet, but to limit them to smallea chances is something good we take away from this. I think the frustration is that in the first half, I thought that we need to clinical with our opportunities. We didn’t unfortunately and we will have to improve on that.”
A crowd of 6,622 was on hand at Lynn Family Stadium and saw the home team open with a flurry of activity. Kansas City stabilized as the first half went on, however. Racing held a 56-44 edge in first-half possession, but for all its activity around the box only managed one shot on target, the same as Kansas City.
Racing goalkeeper Michelle Betos again was outstanding, turning back a close-range attempt by Amy Rodriguez in the first half.
In the second half, Racing Louisville was able to put more pressure on Kansas City, but didn’t manage another shot on target. Kansas City wound up with three shots on target in the game.
“Obviously we have to find a way to put something in the back of the net,” McCaskill said. ”I thought we did a really good job of managing the game even when they got more possession and we found ourselves defending. We didn’t give up the easy goal that we did in the Challenge Cup. But we have to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net when we create chances, and find a way to keep our level of play up for the full 90 minutes.”
Kansas City also is an expansion club, but had acquired the players from Utah, so it came to Louisville with a more seasoned group.
“We have a great group of young players who need experience, but everyone is willing to work hard, and we have an organization that is willing to support us and give us whatever we need,” McCaskill said.
Holly praised the work of McCaskill in creating opportunities. He’s just looking for someone to finish those chances. The signing of Ebony Salmon from Bristol City should help, but he wants the current roster to begin to convert.
"We need to be a little bit braver and put ourselves in position where we can actually score,” Holly said. "We have to take more responsibility as individuals and teammates to step up and let the shot go. . . . We need to not be so picky about the opportunities that we’re trying to generate."
Racing Louisville will return to play on Friday, May 21 against the Washington Spirit at 7 p.m. The game will stream on the NWSL’s official Twitch channel.
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