Dilfer and Stevenson on USA Roster
While not quite the professional ranks, Tori Dilfer and Anna Stevenson are set to advance their careers and abilities when they join the USA Collegiate National Team for training this summer. The two were announced yesterday to be part of the 29-player roster that will train in Anaheim from June 13-18. No matches are announced, but the opportunity to compete against and train with the best of their peers for a week is sure to be an experience they will cherish. A few familiar names also on the roster are Kayla Lund from Pitt and Maddy Skinner and Alli Stumler from UK. We'll have more on this story as the event approaches.
Ekic Propels Racing Louisville to First Club Victory
It took the NWSL's newest team quite some time to break through in the W column. RLFC played through the entire challenge cup without a win, going 0-2-2 in that event, scoring a pair of goals in two games and being shut out in the other two. They didn't advance out of group play in that event, but did get quite a bit of important experience as a team prior to opening their first regular season. The regular season got underway last week, with Racing going the full 90 locked in a scoreless draw against Kansas City. A draw isn't the worst way to start the season but they were still looking for that first victory.
It was a wait that ended last night. Racing welcomed the Washington Spirit to town last night on a beautiful evening for soccer and gave the fans in the stands plenty to cheer about. The hometown team was on the back foot for the majority of the game, as Washington finished with 29 total shots, ten on target, and had 61% of the possession. Michelle Betos was plenty active in goal, ending with a hard-earned clean sheet. Louisville took their chances on the counter attack, and it was in the second half that they came away with something.
Emina Ekic took control of the ball swinging around the right side of the pitch. When the ball stepped away from her, a Washington defender's attempt to clear caught Ekic on the arm. Because she wasn't extending her arm, it was considered part of the body, which put the ball at her feet. From there, Emina did what we saw plenty of times throughout her time at UofL. She worked the ball to her left foot just inside the top of the box and fired one to the upper left of the goal. It was the first goal of her professional career and put Racing on top in the 76th minute.
Washington wasn't going to go away after just one goal, so it was key for Louisville to keep the pressure on. Just five minutes later, another counter attack paid off. This time, we saw Ekic carry the ball up from midfield with pace as Racing pushed from the back. She sent a long pass up the middle to CeCe Kizer who took control just outside the box and used two touches to set up her one-on-one shot against the Washington keeper. Her shot found the side netting and Louisville led 2-0.
It wasn't over yet, as Louisville still needed plenty of effort from Betos and the defenders over the final 15 minutes of play (plenty of stoppage time) to keep Washington out of the net. Despite the Spirit's greatest efforts, Louisville was able to see it through to the final whistle, winning 2-0 while facing a 29-7 final shot deficit. Racing Louisville will be back in action with their first road game of the true season next week. When they take the field, they'll do so tied for third at worst, as just two teams can sit on six points.
Mystics End Liberty's Undefeated Start
We didn't get to see the Louisville matchup quite yet, as Myisha Hines-Allen remains "temporarily suspended" from the Mystics roster due to overseas obligations. MHA could have returned as early as last night, but remains with her French team until an expected return tomorrow. As such, we didn't get Shook vs MHA in last night's game, but the Mystics didn't need MHA or Elena Della Donne to completely house the Liberty 101-72. That 29-point difference was made up completely in the first and fourth quarters as the Mystics shot 47% from the field and 51% from three on the night.
Kylee Shook started for the Liberty and had one of the better games for the team that was thumped. She played 22 minutes and finished 5-7 from the floor giving her 11 points to go along with two rebounds, three assists, and a block. She finished with a +/- of -9, the second best mark for any Liberty player that was on the floor for more than ten minutes.
Jaz Jones had a bit of the opposite game. She came off the bench and played 24 minutes. In that time she took just five shots, making one. She finished with three points, one rebound, three assists, a steal, and a block. She was -28 on the floor, the worst on the team. It was a night to forget for the entire Liberty team, as their undefeated start came to an end while the Mystics finally got their first win of the season. The Mystics are back in action tomorrow at 1PM, when MHA may make her first appearance, and the Liberty get a chance to get back on track tomorrow at the same time.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
We're off again this week as our schedules are all over the place. I'm due to return to the pod eventually, but it wasn't going to be this week. As the Louisville spring seasons come to a close, we're nearing quiz season. As such, make sure that you're brushed up on your Louisville trivia so that you can participate in our weekly fun. The show should return next week, but keep an eye out on this page for more details.
Until next time, Go Cards!