A total of 22 players comprise Racing Louisville FC’s inaugural roster ahead of this Saturday’s Challenge Cup opener against the Pride. Prior to the 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft, the league’s newest side bolstered its front line via trade with the Chicago Red Stars, acquiring forwards Savannah McCaskill and Yuki Nagasato. At midfield, Louisville opted to select Lauren Milliett from North Carolina via the Expansion Draft while drafting UNC-product Taylor Otto at the 2021 NWSL Draft in January. Fellow Tar Heels Julia Ashley and Emily Fox highlight the backline, acquired via the Expansion Draft and NWSL Draft, respectively, while Michelle Betos is expected to start between the posts after spending the last three seasons with OL Reign.
Leading Into Play
Throughout its two-month plus preseason, Racing Louisville played a five-match slate against top collegiate programs such as Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Louisville and a doubleheader against reigning ACC Champions Florida State. The side took victories from the Commodores, Mountaineers and their neighboring Cardinals, their last competition taking place in Tallahassee on March 28.
With the Red Stars at the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, Savannah McCaskill finished the competition tied for the league-lead in assists with two for the runner-up Red Stars in the tournament. The forward finished the year with two goals and two assists across all competitions for Chicago. Her teammates up top in Cece Kizer, Emina Ekic and Katie McClure have each found the back of the net this preseason, with Kizer scoring a hat trick against Louisville and the latter two having their hand in three of Racing’s four goals in a shutout victory over West Virginia.
Saturday’s fixture will serve as the first between the two sides as Racing Louisville begins play as an NWSL franchise at the weekend. The last time the Pride faced off against an expansion side to open the year came in 2018, hosting the then-Utah Royals at previously-named Orlando City Stadium, battling to a 1-1 draw in their first matchup.
Rasmussen College Fun Fact
This weekend will mark the first time the Pride will play in front of fans since October 12, 2019, as Lynn Family Stadium is set to host supporters for its inaugural NWSL fixture. With the Club electing to not allow fans through the 2020 Fall Series as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pride’s last match in front of a crowd came in the 2019 season finale against the Reign at Exploria Stadium, a match that resulted in a 2-2 draw.