Match preview: NC Courage Hosts Portland Thorns FC in Inaugural Home Opener
The NC Courage are hosting the 2016 Supporters Shield winners, the Portland Thorns, on Saturday, April 22 for the team’s inaugural home opener at newly named Sahlen’s Stadium and WakeMed Soccer Park.
The match will feature national team players from several federations, including former Tar Heels and USWNT players Allie Long and Meaghan Klingenberg of the Thorns.
This matchup is full of fire-power and talent, as both team’s are looking for their second consecutive win of the 2017 NWSL Season.
Last Time Out:
The Courage are coming off the first win in club history, a 1-0 win against the Washington Spirit. Midfielder McCall Zerboni scored the NC Courage’s first-ever goal in the 18th minute with a left-footed shot off a cross from Makenzy Doniak. Not only did the Courage hold the Spirit scoreless, but they immensely dominated possession, by outshooting Washington 23-4.
The Courage also had an unbeaten, 4-0 preseason, with goals from Lynn Williams, Rosana, Debinha and Jess McDonald.
As for the Thorns, they are coming off a 2-0 win against the Orlando Pride to open the NWSL season. Goals were provided by Nadia Nadim and Christine Sinclair.
Players to Watch:
#3 Makenzy Doniak
Doniak is a deadly force on the NC Courage wing. She logged the first assist of the year on April 15 with a spot-on service to McCall Zerboni, who put the ball away for the first goal in NC Courage history. Doniak traveled abroad with the USWNT U-23s in early March. Last year as a rookie, Doniak started in 15 out of 20 games and had three goals and four assists.
#12 Christine Sinclair
Sinclair is one of the most recognizable names in all of women’s soccer. She’ll be a force to be reckoned with up top, as she scored in the Thorn’s home opener last weekend. As the captain of the Canadian National Team, Sinclair has over 250 international caps, and over 65 caps with the Thorns.
Coming up Next:
The Courage will remain home for a match against the Orlando Pride next Saturday, April 29 for a 4 p.m. match in front of the North Carolina Football Club faithful at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The club will then take to the road for a May 7 away match against the Boston Breakers.