LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Katie Lund said Saturday night she hadn’t stepped up to take a penalty kick of her own since sealing a state championship as a high schooler. The goalkeeper now has a new story to tell.
Playing her first professional minutes for Racing Louisville FC, Lund converted penalty attempt No. 11 for the NWSL expansion club against FC Bayern Munich, then turned around to deny her opposite number, propelling Racing to its first trophy win.
Minutes later, Lund and her teammates raised The Women’s Cup in celebration, finishing off an inaugural four-team tournament that also included Paris Saint-Germain and the Chicago Red Stars at Lynn Family Stadium.
“In the last two months Katie Lund has turned things up a notch and we wanted to get Katie in there,” said Racing coach Christy Holly. “We wanted her to play. We wanted her to get that chance. This platform — and my goodness, she stepped up. She got what she deserved.”
Lund entered in the 71st minute of the final, then in a 1-1 game, by replacing team captain and beloved started Michelle Betos, who was suffering the effects of a third game played in a week.
Racing selected the Texas native — she played collegiately for both TCU and Arkansas — in the 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft. Until subbed on in the 71st minute, Lund hadn’t appeared for her club since the preseason.
“Kids dream about this,” she said. “To have this moment as pro debut, I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m so grateful for Christy and the whole staff for allowing me to play tonight and for Michelle for setting it up for me. It hasn’t hit me yet.”
Racing took the lead in the 85th minute when turning over the German champs Bayern in the own half. Lauren Milliet’s cross found a lunging Yuki Nagasato, whose leaping strike went off the cross bar and in.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Bayern came up with its equalizer off a Klara Buhl cross that caromed off a Racing defender.
The score locked at 2-2, penalties ensued with Lund between the posts for Racing. As Louisville went through its lineup, the host side had a try blocked, hit the bar and post, plus sent one over the goal altogether.
Lund kept Racing in it by making three saves before her game-winning fourth stop, the exclamation point on a dramatic pro debut that ended with seven Louisville penalties made to Bayern’s six.
Holly praised “the commitment these players have put forward wearing this jersey and representing this club and this city” — which they did Saturday in front of a Racing-record 7,813.
“I mean as a coach I’m stoked,” the coach added. “Every single one of them from start to finish was absolutely first-class players, role models, people, and we’re so proud that they’re attached to this club and this city.”
It took a monumental effort for Racing to even be in position for penalties considering Holly made nine changes from Wednesday’s victory over the Chicago Red Stars, also accomplished in penalties. Along with serving as a game in The Women’s Cup, it counted as a regular-season NWSL draw.
Overall, this marked the third of what will be five Racing games in 15 days, necessitating lineup rotation — but creating opportunities. After a scoreless first half, forward Jorian Baucom took advantage of her chance, chasing down a poorly played pass back by Bayern and finishing smoothly to knot the score at 1-1 in the 54th minute.
Racing scored on two of its four attempts in regulation and held strong defensively despite Bayern — a Champions League semifinalist this year — landing five of its own shots on target.
Appropriately, postgame Betos and Lund were named co-MVPs of The Women’s Cup, an event organizers hope to bring back to Louisville on an annual basis.
Paris Saint-German — the other league winner and Champions League semifinalist in town for the week — defeated the Chicago Red Stars by a 1-0 score in Saturday’s third-place game preceding the final.
Forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto settled a 35th-minute cross with one touch, turned and fired into the corner for the game’s only goal.
PSG entered Louisville 0-3 in its prior preseason games ahead of an Aug. 29 start to its 2021-2022 campaign.
Bayern, which had already lifted the French Cup, was denied a second preseason trophy. Its season begins next weekend as well.