NC Courage Win Opening Match of the NWSL Challenge Cup
While goals by Debinha and Lynn Williams were undoubtedly two highlights of the opening match of the NWSL Challenge Cup, a moment of unity between the NC Courage and the Portland Thorns as they knelt during the national anthem in support of Black Lives Matter was certainly one to remember.
A joint statement released by the two teams following the anthem read, “We took a knee today to protest injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism against black people and people of color in America.”
After ending the first half deadlocked at 0-0, the North Carolina Courage struck first in the 75th minute when Hailie Mace threaded a pass to Debinha, who took an easy shot into the lower corner of the net to put the Courage up 1-0.
Mace, who made her NWSL debut in the game, came in for Ally Watt who was injured in the 68th minute and stretchered off of the field. The assist from Mace came just minutes after she entered the match and was one of her first touches.
The Portland Thorns answered later into the second half with an unassisted goal scored in the 80th minute by Simone Charley. A shot by Lindsey Horan that rebounded off of the crossbar started the attack. The rebound caught Charley in stride.
Just when it seemed the match was going to end in a tie, Sam Mewis crossed the ball to Williams for a header to score the Courage’s game-winning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. In a postgame interview, Williams joked about her connection with Mewis being so strong because the two are roommates and spent weeks of preseason only being able to train with each other.
Up Next: The North Carolina Courage will face the Washington Spirit on Wednesday, July 1 at 10 p.m. EST to continue the preliminary round of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
NCC (4-4-2 Box): Stephanie Labbe, Addisyn Merrick (Cari Roccaro, 57’), Abby Dahlkemper, Abby Erceg ©, Jaelene Daniels, Denise O’Sullivan, Samantha Mewis, Debinha, Crystal Dunn (Lauren Milliet, 65’), Lynn Williams (Lynn Williams, 90+4’), Kristen Hamilton (Ally Watt, 58’) (Hailie Mace, 74’)
Subs Not Used: Katelyn Rowland, Kaleigh Kurtz, McKenzie Meehan, Ryan Williams, Meredith Speck, Samantha Murphy
POR (4-5-1): Bella Bixby, Kelli Hubly (Christen Westphal, 72’), Emily Menges, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg (Madison Pogarch, 84’), Angela Salem (Celeste Boureille, 45’), Lindsey Horan, Rocky Rodriguez, Christine Sinclair ©, Tyler Lussi (Morgan Weaver, 54’), Marissa Everett (Simone Charley, 54’)
Subs Not Used: Britt Eckerstrom, Meaghan Nally, Emily Ogle, Anika Rodriguez, Gabrielle Seiler, Autumn Smithers
NCC: Debinha (75’), Williams (90’+4’)
POR: Charley (80’)
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