Preview: Washington Spirit looks to build on season-opening win on the road against Racing Louisville FC

Washington Spirit  |   March 31, 2023
Preview: Washington Spirit looks to build on season-opening win on the road against Racing Louisville FC Featured Image

Louisville, Ky. (03/31/2023) – The Washington Spirit will face Racing Louisville FC Saturday afternoon in both clubs’ second match of the season. The match kicks off at 3:00 p.m. EST at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky and will broadcast on Paramount+ for fans across the United States and on NBC Sports Washington for viewers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. International viewers can stream the match on as well.

The Spirit

The Washington Spirit secured three points in a 1-0 season-opening victory against OL Reign off of a Trinity Rodman goal, the 11th NWSL regular season goal of her career. The strike from 25 yards out was the longest of Rodman’s professional career in any competition.

Saturday will be the seventh overall meeting between Washington and Louisville. The Spirit owns the series history 3-1-2, with a 2-0-1 home record and 1-1-1 road record. Washington has outscored Louisville 9-5 through six competitions, with forward Ashley Hatch scoring four goals in that time. Notably, defender Maddie Elwell scored her first career goal against Louisville last season. All Spirit players that have scored a goal against Racing Louisville FC – Elwell, Hatch, Rodman, Ashley Sanchez, Sam Staab and Andi Sullivan – are still currently tenured with the Spirit.

Goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, coming off her 100th NWSL regular season appearance, is set to make her 100th career NWSL start on Saturday. Kingsbury was instrumental in last week’s victory over OL Reign, making four pivotal saves on the way to her 27th career clean sheet.

First-year players Civanna Kuhlmann, Paige Metayer and Lena Silano each made their NWSL debuts, with Metayer joining the Starting XI. Kuhlmann registered two shots, including one on target.

The Spirit looks to earn its first road victory since the 2021 NWSL Semifinal when the team defeated OL Reign 2-1. Following Saturday afternoon’s match, the Spirit will have two weeks before its next contest as the NWSL pauses for the April international window. The team will travel to North Carolina and New Jersey for two road matches on April 15 and 19, respectively.

The Opposition

Racing Louisville FC currently sits tied for sixth in the 2023 NWSL table following a 0-0 draw with Houston in the side’s season opener. Second-year coach Kim Björkegren saw five new players inserted into the starting lineup including former Courage stars Abby Erceg and Carson Pickett.

Racing Louisville FC has struggled following draws, historically. In games immediately following the club’s 15 all-time draws, Louisville has won only twice, lost seven times and drawn six times.

The Spirit hold a 3-1-2 all-time record against Louisville, with both ties coming in the two most recent matches between the sides. At Lynn Family Stadium, the series is split 1-1-1. The last match played between the two teams was a 1-1 draw, as Ashley Hatch and Louisville’s Nadia Nadim scored the only goals. Nadim was responsible for every Racing goal against the Spirit last season.

In 2022, Louisville finished 5-9-8, placing ninth in the league table. Forward Nadia Nadim was the team’s leading goal scorer with six goals across 11 competitions, while Savannah DeMelo (4) and Jess McDonald (3) were second and third, respectively.

Keeper Katie Lund is coming off the most productive season of her career, starting in all 22 regular season matches and logging 1.59 goals against average (GAA) and a 77.9 save percentage. Her 112 saves ranked first in the NWSL by 30 saves with the next-closest coming from Kansas City and USWNT goalkeeper AD Franch.

After finishing the season tied for the most assists (6) in the NWSL, newcomer Carson Pickett brings an offensive spark to Louisville’s Starting XI.

Additionally, this Wednesday, Racing Louisville FC announced the hiring of Ryan Dell as the team’s General Manager. He comes from the USWNT where he had been since 2013.

Next up for Racing Louisville FC is a two-game West Coast road trip, with games against Angel City FC (April 15) and Portland Thorns FC (April 22).


  • The Spirit is unbeaten (two wins, two draws) versus Racing Louisville FC in the last four matchups.
  • The 1-0 win over OL Reign was Washington’s third-ever shutout win in an NWSL season opener (also 2016 and 2019).
  • With a win over Racing Louisville FC, the Spirit will start a season 2-0-0 for the first time since 2016, defeating Boston and Sky Blue.
  • Cincinnati natives Bayley Feist and Aubrey Kingsbury will be well-represented in the stands on Saturday as the midfielder and goalkeeper welcome large groups of friends and family to the match.
  • Tara McKeown, who debuted in her new center back role last Sunday, ranked the highest on the team after completing 15 of her 20 passes (75%).
  • After one match this season:
    • Goals: WAS (1) / LOU (0)
    • Shots: WAS (7) / LOU (10)
    • Shots on Goal: WAS (4) / LOU (5)
  • The Spirit returns to Lynn Family Stadium where the club defeated the Chicago Red Stars, 2-1, to win the 2021 NWSL Championship.
  • Racing Louisville FC has placed ninth in the final NWSL standings in 2021 (22 points, 24 matches played) and 2022 (23 points, 22 matches played), its first two seasons playing in the NWSL.
  • There are no current Spirit players who have previously played for Racing Louisville FC. Meanwhile, Louisville goalkeeper Katie Lund will face off against her old team after being a member of the Spirit during the COVID-affected 2020 season.
    • Lund made seven saves last weekend, her seventh game with seven or more saves since the beginning of last season. Lund has more than twice the amount of such matches as the next closest keepers, AD Franch and DiDi Haracic (3).
  • Former college teammates meet again:
    • Spirit defender Amber Brooks played with Louisville forward Jess McDonald at North Carolina in 2009. The two also played together with Portland Thorns FC in 2014.
    • Spirit defender Gabrielle Carle played with Louisville midfielder Jaelin Howell at Florida State from 2018 to 2021.
    • Spirit midfielder Inès Jaurena played with Louisville defender Carson Pickett at Florida State in 2012.
    • Spirit defender Tara McKeown played with Louisville midfielder Savannah DeMelo at USC from 2017 to 2021.
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