Racing Louisville FC almost escaped with its second draw of the NWSL Challenge Cup on Thursday night.
The Washington Spirit defeated Louisville’s new professional soccer expansion team 1-0 on a goal in the third of five minutes of stoppage time at Washington, D.C.
“I’m obviously exceptionally disappointed,” Louisville FC Coach Christy Holly said. “You can’t afford to give away goals at the end of the game in the NWSL. If you continue to give teams opportunities, at the end of the game they are going to punish you. It’s a tough learning lesson for the team. We’ll take it on board and try to move forward.”
The NWSL Challenge Cup is a preseason tournament this month and next featuring all 10 of the league’s teams. Racing Louisville played Orlando to a 2-2 tie in its inaugural match last Saturday in Louisville, a game the home team tied during stoppage time.
In the 93rd minute of Thursday’s match, Trinity Rodman, the daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, crossed a pass to teammate Ashley Sanchez who was able to punch home the goal despite Racing Louisville goalkeeper Michelle Betos getting a hand on the shot.
Racing Louisville returns to action April 26 against the North Carolina Courage at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville then visits NJ/NY Gotham FC on May 2. The winners of each of two five-team divisions advance to the Challenge Cup championship game on May 8. The Challenge Cup precedes the 24-game regular season.
“We are a new team, and there’s all this chemistry that’s been building so I think each game is an opportunity for us to learn and grow,” Racing Louisville midfielder Lauren Milliet said. “I think that’s what we’re trying to take from each game. Yes, the loss is disappointing, especially in stoppage time, but we can always learn from it.”