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 Racing Louisville FC

Racing Louisville Ready for Takeoff on Thunder Saturday

April 19, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Racing Louisville FC News Release

Racing Louisville exchanges hugs after a goal
Racing Louisville exchanges hugs after a goal
(Racing Louisville FC, Credit: USA TODAY Sports Images)

Racing Louisville will play the first professional soccer game during Thunder Over Louisville, hosting the Utah Royals at 5 p.m. ET Saturday at Lynn Family Stadium as part of the all-day Thunder event known locally as the kickoff of two weeks of festivities leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

The game will play out amid an air show, followed by live music and fireworks in a lively atmosphere in downtown Louisville. Racing is expecting one of its largest crowds in club history for the occasion.

The match will be broadcast over the air on WAVE's The 365 channel and streamed on the WAVE News app, or NWSL+ for free with a sign-up. Fans can access NWSL+ online at or via the app on Apple, Fire or Roku services. News Talk 1080 AM or online at, and the iHeart Radio app will carry the radio broadcast.

Racing Louisville (0-0-4, 4 points) is the first team in NWSL history to draw its opening four matches of a season, with two 2-2 ties and a pair of 0-0 deadlocks, including last weekend's entertaining slugfest against the San Diego Wave. The scoreless battle with San Diego was the third time in five meetings between the teams that ended with that score line.

Coach Bev Yanez's squad is angling for a breakthrough against expansion side Utah, which returned the league after the original iteration of the franchise moved to Kansas City.

Nigeria star forward Uchenna Kanu leads the line for Racing, with her three goals topping the league in scoring. Both Kanu (eighth) and midfielder Taylor Flint (second) rank in the top 10 in the NWSL in average match rating, per FotMob, with both making strong cases for NWSL team of the month honors for March/April and an early push for NWSL Best XI.

Utah (1-3-0, 3 points) notched its first win in Week 2, edging North Carolina, 2-1, after dropping the season opener in front of a sellout crowd at America First Field. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, forward Ally Sentnor, leads the team with two goals - both from distance.

Saturday's match returns a familiar face to Louisville in Utah captain Paige Monaghan, who spent the 2023 season in the Derby City before the Royals selected her in the offseason expansion draft. Defenders Addisyn Merrick and Kaleigh Riehl also suited up for Racing in previous seasons.

Follow along ...

For the starting lineup and in-game updates, follow @RacingLouFC on Twitter and Racing Louisville FC on Facebook. You can also find us at @racinglouisvillefc on Instagram.

WAVE's The 365 channel will carry the match over the air, with the stream on the WAVE News app, or NWSL+ for free with a sign-up. Fans can access NWSL+ online at or via the app on Apple, Fire or Roku services. News Talk 1080 AM or online at, and the iHeart Radio app will carry the radio broadcast.

Storylines ...

Stacking clean sheets: Star Racing goalkeeper Katie Lund added to her growing list of shutouts, with another blank this past Saturday. The Texas native now has 14 career clean sheets, including two this year, tying for the league lead in that category. Her workload, however, has not been as significant as previous season, with Lund averaging 3.25 saves per 90 minutes. Last year, Lund averaged 4.05, while in a standout 2022 campaign she stopped five shots a game.

Who are you calling a rookie? Don't tell Emma Sears or Reilyn Turner there's a learning curve for first-year players out of the NWSL Draft. The duo, both selections in this year's collegiate draft, is off to a jet-fueled start. Turner is tied for the league lead with two assists, while Sears ranks in the top three in the league in shots on target per 90 minutes and successful dribbles per 90. Sears nearly netted her first career goal this past Saturday, fizzing a well-worked 1-2 with Kayla Fischer just past the far post.

Brace yourself: Uchenna Kanu made NWSL history with the fastest pair of goals to start a game, scoring twice inside the first five minutes and 40 seconds in Portland on March 30. The Nigerian international remains the league leader for the golden boot race through the first four weeks of the season, with three goals. In the 2-2 draw at Portland, Kanu also set career-highs in touches, passes attempted and passes completed.

You Belong With Racing: Taylor Flint wasted no time making an impact with Racing Louisville after arriving via trade from San Diego this offseason. The standout 25-year-old has been a force in the midfield, ranking second in the NWSL in average match rating, per FotMob. She ranks second in the NWSL in interceptions per 90 minutes while also ranking first in aerial duels won, second in tackles won and third in ball recoveries.

Bahr none: How about that for an NWSL debut? For the first time in eight years, a player registered an assist and a goal in their NWSL debut, with Racing's Elexa Bahr matching Houston's Rachel Daly in 2016 with the feat. Bahr scored a magnificent opening goal in the season-opening draw vs. Orlando on March 16, chipping the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. She added an assist a few minutes later on Uchenna Kanu's well-taken goal in transition. Bahr, who grew up in Georgia and starred collegiately at South Carolina, joined Racing this winter after helping Colombia reach the FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in the nation's history.

DeMelo's record book chase: Racing Louisville's history is obviously short, with just three years of NWSL play. That means we're witnessing history as it's made, from Lauren Milliet's pacesetting in appearances and minutes to Katie Lund's 51 consecutive starts. This could be the year that Savannah DeMelo puts a significant stamp on the Racing record books, too. The third-year midfielder is a goal away from matching Nadia Nadim's 10 scores in a Racing uniform, and her four assists put her in a tie as the club's assists leader.

Key NWSL experience added: Louisville has grown into an experienced squad over the past two years, and that process continued in the offseason with the additions of Taylor (Kornieck) Flint, Marisa (Viggiano) DiGrande, Ellie Jean and University of Kentucky legend Arin Wright. The four accomplished NWSL veterans bring league shields and championships, Best XI selections and multiple playoff appearances between them.

Global Racing: Racing Louisville became the first club in NWSL history to feature players from six different continental confederations on its roster in 2023, and that hasn't changed despite roster turnover this offseason. Louisville's 26-player roster consists of two players from Oceania Football Confederation; one from Asian Football Confederation; two from Confederation of African Football; one player from Union of European Football Associations; two from CONMEBOL (South America); and the remaining 18 from the U.S. (Note: Forward Elexa Bahr was born and raised in the U.S. but competes for the Colombian national team.)

Images from this story

Racing Louisville exchanges hugs after a goal
Racing Louisville exchanges hugs after a goal

(USA TODAY Sports Images)

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