In the second matchup of the 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup, the Kansas City Current (1-1-0) fell on the road 3-2 against Racing Louisville FC (1-0-0). Goals from rookie Michelle Cooper and veteran Debinha were a bright spot for the team, but not enough to get points in Louisville.
Kansas City started the match on the front foot with a heavily rotated lineup featuring six players that did not start in the Current’s last match. In the 7th minute, forward Alexa Spaanstra pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area but was unable to put a shot on frame from an extremely tight angle.
Ten minutes later, Spaanstra would be instrumental in Kansas City’s first goal. Forward Michelle Cooper intercepted a cross meant for Louisville’s front line. She passed it off to Jenna Winebrenner, who found Spaanstra on the left-hand side. Spaanstra slid the ball to the center to find Cooper at the top of the box, who slammed a rocket into the top right corner to net the first goal for the visitors.
Louisville found a response in the 25th minute. After a goal was called back for being offside, Racing midfielder Jordan Baggett jumped on a short goal kick from Kansas City goalkeeper AD Franch. She laid the ball off for forward Savannah DeMelo, who lofted the ball from the top of the box into the back of the net.
DeMelo notched her brace five minutes later, when she jumped on a bouncing clearance in the box and buried the shot into the bottom left corner.
Just after halftime, the Current created another great chance, when a through ball from Izzy Rodriguez found Mimmi Larsson charging into the box. Larsson’s cross then found Cooper perfectly placed at the center of goal, but Louisville’s defense was able to knock it over the endline.
In the 65th minute, the Current found themselves with another chance, as Chardonnay Curran found herself open just outside of the box and slammed a shot toward goal. The ball sailed just barely wide.
Racing Louisville would make it three in the 86th minute, taking advantage of the high pressure played by the Current and creating a four vs two as the home team charged down the field. Franch came off her line, but midfielder Ary Borges chipped it over the goalkeeper to make it three.
Kansas City never gave up. Debinha, who entered the match late, got the ball at midfield and charged down the right-hand side. The Brazilian dribbled around three defenders and buried her shot past goalkeeper Katie Lund to shorten the deficit.
In a quirk of the schedule, the Current face Racing Louisville again in regular season play this Saturday, May 20, at Children’s Mercy Park for Military Appreciation Night, presented by Palmer Square Capital Management. Season tickets, flex plans and single match tickets are available for all home matches at Children’s Mercy Park. For pricing and information, visit kansascitycurrent.com.
UKG NWSL Challenge Cup Match Report
Match: Racing Louisville FC vs. Kansas City Current
Date: May 17, 2023
Venue: Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, KY
Kickoff: 6:37 p.m. CT / 7:37 p.m. ET
Weather: 76 degrees, sunny
20’ Louisville – Erceg (Yellow)
61’ Kansas City – Mace (Yellow)
70’ Louisville – Fischer (Yellow)
83’ Louisville – Kgatlana (Yellow)
90+3’ Kansas City – Merrick (Yellow)
90+5’ Louisville – Borges (Yellow)
17’ Kansas City – Cooper (Spaanstra)
25’ Louisville – DeMelo (Baggett)
30’ Louisville – DeMelo
86’ Louisville – Borges (Kgatlana)
88’ Kansas City – Debinha (Spaanstra)
Racing Louisville FC Lineup: Lund, Pickett, Erceg, Murray (63’ Pikkujämsä), Wyne (63’ Milliet), DeMelo (74’ Kgatlana), Howell ©, Baggett (84’ Borges), Monaghan (63’ Fischer), Kanu, Chidiac
Unused Substitutes: Sekany, Goins, Holloway, Shuang
Kansas City Current Lineup: Franch ©, Rodriguez, Robinson (45’ Soto), Merrick, Del Fava (45’ Mace), Winebrenner, Childers (77’ Kizer), Spaanstra, Curran, Cooper (64’ Debinha), Larsson (64’ LaBonta)
Unused Substitutes: Miller, DiBernardo, Hamilton