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 Racing Louisville FC

Racing Louisville Soars Past Utah on Landmark Day for Club

April 20, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Racing Louisville FC News Release

Louisville City FC celebrates win
Louisville City FC celebrates win
(Racing Louisville FC)

Racing Louisville added lightning to Thunder Over Louisville, soaring past the Utah Royals in front of a record crowd at Lynn Family Stadium, setting a number of club records in a 5-1 win in the first professional soccer game during Thunder, a hallmark air show and fireworks event that kicks off the city's annual Kentucky Derby festivities.

It was the first win for first-year coach Bev Yanez in the first NWSL match in league history pitting two former NWSL players against each other as coaches, with Utah led by former U.S. Women's National Team regular Amy Rodriguez. What's more, it was the first time Racing scored five goals in a match, and the 11,365 fans on hand far surpassed Racing's previous club record attendance of 10,214.

"It feels amazing for this group," Yanez said. "They work so hard every single day to be the best that they can be, and to be able to have this breakthrough, obviously it's something we've really wanted and we've been yearning for. Having that here at home in front of a record-breaking crowd is the most special moment for all of us."

Racing Louisville (1-0-4, 7 points) remains one of the NWSL's unbeaten teams, along with Orlando and Kansas City - with the Current leading by three goals in the second half as of this recap writing. The three points moved Louisville into fifth in the league standings at this early juncture in the season.

Star midfielder Savannah DeMelo scored her first career regular-season brace, becoming the club's all-time leading scorer (11 goals) in the process, surpassing Nadia Nadim in the record books.

Rookies Emma Sears and Reilyn Turner scored their first professional goals, and both Marisa DiGrande and Carson Pickett registered their first assists in Racing Louisville colors.

And Uchenna Kanu maintained her place atop the NWSL golden boot race, netting her fourth goal of the season and Racing's first of the day.

"We knew we'd have so many fans here, and we just really wanted this for the whole staff, for the community, and I think we just put on a show," DeMelo said. "I'm so proud of the girls."

Kanu broke open the scoring in the 26th minute with a back-post header from defender Lauren Milliet's cross, putting the finishing touch on a move that started with Taylor Flint's excellent effort to stave off a physical challenge from Utah star Ally Sentnor.

In the 10 minutes that followed, Racing hit the post and twice had scoring chances saved off the goal line by Utah goalkeeper Mandy Haught, who made six saves.

Utah fullback Olivia Smith-Griffitts scored the equalizer three minutes into added time of the first half against the run of play, slotting home a well-placed shot to the back post from the right edge of the box.

The floodgates opened halfway through the second half. DeMelo tucked in a rebound off Haught's first save of an Elexa Bahr shot in the 68th minute. Nine minutes later, DeMelo converted a penalty after video review determined Sears won a foul in the box. They were the first regular-season goals for the California native since June 18, 2023.

With the game in its late stages, Turner nodded in a header at the back post on a lofted cross from Pickett, padding Louisville's lead in the 87th minute. A minute into added time, Sears picked up a pass at midfield and bullied her way some 50 yards before smacking in a shot from 12 yards out.

"It was super special," Sears said. "Obviously, it was a record-breaking crowd, so the intensity of the environment was something that was super fun to play in."

Game Summary: Racing Louisville FC vs. Utah Royals

Date: April 20, 2024

Venue: Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, Ky.

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET

Weather: 61 degrees, sunny

Attendance: 11,365

Player of the Match: Savannah DeMelo


Racing Louisville (1, 4, 5)

Utah Royals (1, 0, 1)


Racing Louisville

26' Uchenna Kanu (Lauren Milliet)

68' Savannah DeMelo

78' Savannah DeMelo (penalty)

87' Reilyn Turner (Carson Pickett)

90'+1 Emma Sears (Marisa DiGrande)

Utah Royals

45'+3 Olivia Smith-Griffitts (Ally Sentnor)


Racing Louisville FC (4-2-3-1): 1 - Katie Lund; 2 - Lauren Milliet, 3 - Arin Wright, 20 - Abby Erceg, 16 - Carson Pickett; 6 - Jaelin Howell (c), 26 - Taylor Flint; 29 - Uchenna Kanu (52' 66 - Reilyn Turner), 7 - Savannah DeMelo (84' 14 - Marisa DiGrande), 8 - Ary Borges (52' 13 - Emma Sears); 23 - Elexa Bahr (74' 9 - Kayla Fischer)

Subs not used: 24 - Jordyn Bloomer; 5 - Ellie Jean, 10 - Linda Motlhalo, 17 - Maddie Pokorny, 21 - Parker Goins

Head Coach: Bev Yanez

Utah Royals (4-2-3-1): 1 - Mandy Haught; 3 - Olivia Smith-Griffitts, 8 - Kate Del Fava, 5 - Lauren Flynn, 16 - Madison Pogarch; 12 - Zoe Burns (79' 7 - Michele Vasconcelos), 21 - Mikayla Cluff; 15 - Brecken Mozingo, 9 - Ally Sentnor, 4 - Paige Monaghan (c); 33 - Hannah Betfort

Subs not used: 27 - Carly Nelson, 32 - Cristina Roque; 13 - Addisyn Merrick, 20 - Cam Tucker

Head Coach: Amy Rodriguez

Stats Summary: Racing Louisville / Utah Royals

Shots: 18 / 10

Shots on Goal: 10 / 2

Expected goals: 4.0 / 0.67

Possession: 50.1% / 49.9%

Fouls: 16 / 14

Offside: 2 / 0

Corner Kicks: 3 / 2

Discipline Summary

Racing Louisville

13' Lauren Milliet (yellow)

37' Savannah DeMelo (yellow)

Utah Royals

72' Lauren Flynn (yellow)

Match referee: Joshua Encarnacion

Assistant referees: Tiffini Turpin, Katarzyna Wasiak

Fourth official: Kevin Fikar

Video Assistant Referee: Kelsey Harms

Assistant VAR: Maggie Short

Images from this story

Louisville City FC celebrates win
Louisville City FC celebrates win


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