NC Courage

HISTORY! NC Courage Claim NWSL Championship with 3-0 Win Over Portland in front of 21,144 fans!

The top-seeded NC Courage capped off a historic season on Saturday night with a 3-0 victory over second-seeded Portland Thorns FC to win the NWSL Championship.

With the victory, the Courage cements its status as the best professional women’s soccer team in the United States – and possibly the world.

In 2018, the Courage claimed a historic treble, winning the Women’s International Champions Cup, the NWSL Shield and the NWSL Championship, breaking multiple records along the way in the most dominant and most successful U.S. women’s professional soccer season to date.

In a match filled with intensity from the opening kick, it didn’t take long for the sides to begin creating chances.

In the 13th minute, the Courage broke the deadlock with an early goal. Lynn Williams found space down the flank and whipped a shot past Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. The ball rebounded off the crossbar and fell into the path of a wide-open Debinha, who headed the ball into the open net.

The teams traded opportunities for the rest of the half, and just before the halftime whistle, the NC Courage made Portland pay for another defensive lapse.

Jaelene Hinkle sent a cross past the Portland backline and Jessica McDonald ran unmarked to the ball and headed in the goal by a stranded Franch.

Out of the halftime break, Portland produced a flurry of chances, but the Courage defense held strong before clinching the match with another clinical finish.

In the 64th minute, off a corner kick, Abby Dahlkemper played a short pass to Denise O’Sullivan who fed Merritt Mathias at the top corner of the 18-yard box. The defender then played a cross through the middle of the box that found McDonald. The forward tucked home her second goal of the night with a well-placed header to ice the game.

With a 3-0 lead intact, the Courage defence buckled down and turned away Portland for the final 26 minutes to earn the team’s 13th shutout of the season and complete the playoff run with zero goals allowed.

Team line-ups:

NCC (4-4-2): Katelyn Rowland; Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt MathiasDebinha (Kristen Hamilton, 78’), Denise O’Sullivan, Samantha Mewis, Crystal Dunn (Heather O’Reilly, 87’); Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald (Darian Jenkins, 90+’)

Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Meredith Speck, Cari Roccaro, Kaleigh Kurtz

POR (4-3-3): Adrianna Franch; Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Emily Sonnett, Ellie Carpenter (Midge Purce, 90+’); Lindsey Horan, Christine Sinclair ©, Celeste Boureille; Tobin Heath, Ana Crnogorcevic (Andressinha, 68’), Caitlin Foord

Subs not used: Elizabeth Ball, Britt Eckerstrom, Mallory Weber, Tyler Lussi, Ifeoma Onumonu

NCC: 2
POR: 0

NCC: Debinha (unassisted, 13’), Jessica McDonald (Jaelene Hinkle, 40’, Merritt Mathias, 64’)
POR: —

NCC: Denise O’Sullivan 42’, Jessica McDonald 65’
POR: —

NCC: —
POR: —

Attendance: 21,144


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