Racing Louisville FC

Racing Louisville FC players embrace during a 2-2 tie of Washington Spirit FC on April 1, 2023 in Lynn Family Stadium. (EM Dash Photography / Racing Louisville FC)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This was a good example of a play on a classic soccer headline: Racing Louisville beat Washington D.C. Spirit 2-2 on Saturday in the wind in Lynn Family Stadium.

Of course, a draw isn’t a win. But it felt pretty close on a day when Racing went to the halftime locker room trailing 2-0. There was little in the first half to suggest a comeback was coming.

The Spirit had held the initiative in the first half. The 2-goal advantage could have been worse, and Racing had been unable to get much going in the way of an answer. US National Team standout Ashley Hatch had scored both goals, the second from USWNT teammate Trinity Rodman.

The wind was, in a word, ridiculous. The steady 25-35 mph blow, with gusts up to 45 mph, exacerbated the falling temperature.

Down 2-0 back in the warmth of the locker room, however, Racing was talking not of weathering the storm, but of winning the game.

“We talked at halftime that we were still thinking we could win the game,” said Racing coach Kim Björkegren. “We had an amazing second half, scoring two goals and coming close to a third one. It showed good team spirit. I’m overall happy with the performance, even if we were trying to win the game.”

That’s in keeping with a Racing Club that exhibited a toughened mentality late last season, and has continued it into the new year. The club came out in the second half determined to play faster, and to generate more of an attack.

Abby Erceg headed home a corner kick from Wang Shuang just 52 minutes into the second half to make things interesting.

““It was a good ball, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Erceg said. “I’m always going to be happy with a goal, and to score for a new team is obviously cool as well – in the first game, the home opener, too.”

The equalizer came off the foot of Brazilian newcomer Ary Borges, a brilliant left-footed half-volley of a loose ball that she collected at the edge of the box and sent high into the upper corner inside the far post.

“Wow, amazing,” Björkegren said. “She is that kind of player that you’ll probably see that one or two more times, for sure.”

Racing is winless in its first two games. But it has tied a pair of respectable midpack teams in the league, and has been playing without its captain, second-year midfielder Jaelin Howell, among others. And the club has a 4-game unbeaten streak heading back to the end of last season. That’s the longest in the club’s short history, and the resourcefulness and esilience it showed on Saturday bodes well.

“You go on with tactics and you work all week, and the wind takes that all away,” Erceg said. “You have to adapt on the fly. Obviously in the first half we didn’t do a very good job of that, and then in the second half we just wanted to make sure we got an early goal to get back in the game, and that’s what we did.”

Next up for the club is a trip to Angel City FC on April 15 at 10 p.m.

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