Thembi Kgatlana scored the winning goal in Racing Louisville’s 2-1 win over Portland Thorns.
The Banyana Banyana forward returned to the starting line-up for her American National Women’s Soccer League side since returning from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Morgan Weaver scored opening goal inside six minutes for Portland Thords before Abby Erceg tied the game in the 60th minute and Kgatlana scoring winner four minutes in later to deliver Racing Louisville’s biggest regular-season win in club history.
It was the first time in the club’s three-year history – and six games – that Racing beat Portland, and the first time the Louisvillians have scored multiple goals against the Thorns, the reigning NWSL champions and historically the league’s most successful team.
That Racing did so without several key players out because of injuries or suspension just added to the emotional evening in the Derby City.
“Everyone is desperate for points – the table is so close – so for the girls to show up the way they did today was unbelievable,” said Erceg, who wore the captain’s arm band in place of the injured Jaelin Howell.
“It was at the right time, a huge performance. I haven’t seen us play with that much grit and heart. You can tell that the girls really want it.
“I said to them before we went out, ‘Our season is on the line. How many games do you want to play? It’s up to us.’ They came out and they showed up.”
With the win, Racing moved into sixth place, the last spot in the NWSL playoff picture, ahead of Sunday’s matches elsewhere in the league.