Racing Louisville Dealt Another Blow to Playoff Hopes

By: Justin McMullen
Posted: September 16, 2021

Racing Louisville FC have endured a difficult stretch in their inaugural National Women’s Soccer League campaign, limping ever nearer to season’s end winless in their last six matches and reeling from the abrupt dismissal of former head coach Christy Holly. During their most recent match, a September 11 loss to Orlando Pride, things went from bad to worse. 

Nadia Nadim, the 33-year-old Danish international forward who had bolstered Louisville’s attack with three goals and one assist after signing from French club Paris Saint-Germain, has been placed on Racing’s season-ending injury list after suffering an ACL tear. 

“Obviously we are all hugely disappointed,” Racing Louisville executive vice president of developement James O’Connor, said in a press release. “Nadia is a big player for us, and we will miss the quality, leadership and spirit that made her a fan favorite in such a short space of time. I have no doubt that Nadia will attack this like so many things she has in her life: full on.”

While visa issues delayed Nadim’s Louisville debut, she made an impact in eight appearances for the expansion side. While Nadim’s statistical output did not translate to results — Racing have remained stuck in ninth place with 17 points — her loss is a blow for the team’s young and mostly inexperienced roster. 

The injury has also dashed Nadim’s plans to represent Denmark for a pair of World Cup qualifiers scheduled during the September international window, where she was set to earn her 100th cap. Also put into potential jeopardy is her involvement in the upcoming UEFA Women’s European Championships; a torn ACL typically comes with about a nine-month recovery time, and the tournament is 10 months away. Nadim led Denmark to the Euro final in the last installment in 2017, scoring a goal in a losing effort to the Netherlands.

“It’s sad that this happened,” Nadim said. “I know injuries are part of football, but the timing is poor for the team and for me with so much on my plate — including the national team. But it is what it is. Life never happens the way you expect.”

While Nadim will no longer be participating in international play this window, two Racing players have been called up to their respective national teams. Star striker Ebony Salmon received her second call-up to England’s senior team for the World Cup qualifiers, while reserve forward Vanessa Kara will represent the Dominican Republic in two friendlies. 

“I am really honored to get to play for the Dominican Republic,” Kara said. “My family is originally from there and sacrificed a lot for me to be able to live out my dreams every day. To honor them by wearing that jersey means the world to me.”

Racing, currently led by interim head coach Mario Sanchez, are off this weekend as the NWSL observes the international break. With six matches left to play, Racing are six points out of playoff position. Their next match comes on Sunday, September 26 against the Houston Dash, who are currently locked in a tight battle for the sixth and final playoff spot with 23 points. If Louisville are to defy the odds and make a playoff appearance in their first season, three points in that match will be vital.

Image Credit- Racing Louisville FC twitter

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