A look at Racing Louisville — Lindsey Horan apologizes

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, Feb. 19, 2024

Racing Louisville is our next stop on the NWSL pre-season tour!

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Racing finished 6-7-9 and in ninth place last year, wilting in the final weeks of the season. The final was a 2-0 loss to the Wave. It was the third straight year that Racing has finished in ninth, a kind of weird stat.

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In the aftermath, the team mutually parted ways with coach Kim Björkegren. Racing promoted well-liked assistant Bev Yanez in December. She becomes just one of five women who are head coaches in the NWSL.

Yanez has liked what she’s seen from the team so far in the preseason.

“The goal is to be as consistent as possible and the expectations of what we want to look like as a group come the start of season. Knowing that we have still these five and a half weeks or so to play to ensure that we get to that space come and start the season, we feel very confident with where we’re at right now. And again, it’s not supposed to be perfect right now. And I think it’s important that that communication is spoken to the group. Right now there should be a lot of kinks that we’re working out — you want to work all that out right now as much as possible. But the effort, the understanding, the want to learn, the want to play in the kind of the framework we’re trying to build is very present from the group and so for that, obviously, it makes me really excited for what we could look like here come the start of the season.”

Bev Yanez

Last year’s finish was unexpected given the team’s talented roster that included (and still includes) Savannah DeMeloJaelin HowellCarson Pickett, Abby Erceg, Uchenna Kanu, Ary Borges and goalkeeper Katie Lund.

In the offseason, Racing lost Nadia Nadim, now with AC Milan, and Thembi Kgatlana, who was acquired by Tigres for a transfer fee. But they added Taylor (Kornieck) Flint from the Wave, brought Arin Wright home via a trade with the Chicago Red Stars and signed free agent Midfielder Marisa (Viggiano) DiGrande. In all, Louisville is bringing back 16 players from last season.

So, essentially, the team is still loaded with talent. It will be up to Yanez to bring them together.

DeMelo, who had a standout season last year with five goals and made the U.S. Women’s World Cup roster, recently addressed Flint’s addition to the midfield.

“I think we have a lot of good midfielders now on this squad, which makes things very competitive, which is always good. It makes us have to perform at our best, it brings up the standard. I think [we’ve] been playing really well together. A lot of us have been moving things around and playing with different people. But I think we’re all on the same page as to how we want to attack and defend and I think that just goes from how Bev has been coaching us.”

Savannah DeMelo

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As part of the preseason, Racing and Gotham FC will travel to Cali, Colombia, for the first Women’s Cup tournament. Racing plays Deportivo Cali and Gotham plays America de Cali.

Of note this past week, Lindsey Horan apologized for somewhat controversial comments she made during an interview with The Athletic that was published earlier this month.

Here’s a little refresher: “American soccer fans, most of them aren’t smart. They don’t know the game. They don’t understand. [But] it’s getting better and better.”

The minute the words came out of her mouth she knew they would be controversial. “I’m gonna piss off some people,” she said, pointing to her frustration with many fans taking TV commentary on the team at face value.

Horan apologized for the comments earlier this week, calling her comments “poorly expressed.” She also expressed her appreciation for the fans.

“Every time we step out and train, every time we step out and play in games, we play for you guys and you are our inspiration, you are our motivation and seeing you wearing our jerseys and seeing you screaming our names and chanting ‘USA,’ that’s what we play for,” she said. “And I never wanted to take any of that away. And continuing on that, the soccer culture in America is changing and growing so much in such a positive way.”

I suppose it was good she apologized, because her comments were incendiary. But was she wrong?

Other noteworthy news

The CONCACAF Gold Cup field is set. The United States will play the Dominican Republic in their opening match on Tuesday. The final field was set after the preliminary round over the weekend.

The Dominican Republic clinched a spot in the group stage with a 1-0 victory over Guyana. Kathrynn González scored the lone goal early in the second half. The Domincan Republic join the U.S., Mexico and Argentina in Group A, playing in Carson, California.

Brenda Cerén scored all three goals for El Salvador in a 3-1 victory over Guatemala. With the win, El Salvador joins Canada, Costa Rica and Paraguay playing in Group C in Houston.

Puerto Rico downed Haiti 1-0 and will join Brazil, Colombia and Panama playing in Group B in San Diego.

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Interesting story by Meg Linehan in The Athletic about how the men’s World Cup in 2026 could screw up the NWSL

Profile of new Houston Dash coach Fran Alonso from the Houston Chronicle

Rachel Bachman from the Wall Street Journal looks at how the infusion of money is boosting the NWSL

Sam Mewis to be inducted into the Courage’s Ring of Honor

The Athletic looks at the questions surrounding the USL Super League

The Equalizer also sought to clear up questions about the Super League

Jason Anderson from ProSoccerWire on Bay FC’s signing of Racheal Kundananji

ESPN on the Kundananji signing

Megan Rapinoe says there’s a special place in hell for those who celebrated her injury

Nike signs 13-year-old Mak Whitham to NIL deal

Becky’s back on the USWNT’s roster for the Gold Cup after all

The LA Daily News on the USWNT’s busy year starting with the Gold Cup

Cat Macario is about to make her return

Jason Anderson write about Crystal Dunn and reuniting with Emma Hayes

Chelsea is looking at Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor

The Main Land looks at five questions surrounding the Orlando Pride

Here’s Horan’s press conference, and Emily Fox spoke too!

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By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
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Written by Annie Peterson