Match Report: First-Place NC Courage Shuts Out Second-Place Sky Blue FC in 2-0 Victory
The league-leading North Carolina Courage returned to its title-contending form with a dominant 2-0 win over second-place Sky Blue FC on Wednesday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The team was solid on the backline and excellent in the attacking half to clinch the victory. Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis scored goals, while Katelyn Rowland earned the shutout in her first start of the season.
“I thought it was a really good, professional performance,” said head coach Paul Riley. “We talked about a couple of things since the game on Sunday, which was not like us at all. We didn’t press well and had low energy. Tonight, we had high energy and we made it difficult for them.”
“It was a good win tonight and we managed the game well. I think we were able to save some legs for the weekend with a quick turnaround.”
The win keeps the NC Courage on top of the NWSL table and moves the club five points clear of its nearest competition.
Williams opened the scoring in the 20th minute. The forward received a pass from Taylor Smith and placed a 20-yard blast past the keeper and into the far corner of the net. The goal was her third of the season and second in as many games.
In the 33rd minute, Jessica McDonald nearly added to the Courage lead. McDonald got past the defense for an open look on goal, but her hard-hit ball found the hand of Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who deflected the shot off the post and away from danger.
The Courage continued to press the goal and struck again in the 41st minute. Mewis scored her second goal of the year and doubled the lead after slotting home a loose ball in the box from a corner.
Following halftime, the Courage nearly added to its lead several times throughout the night, but the excellent play of Sheridan in goal kept Sky Blue within striking distance.
Sheridan denied Smith in the 51st with a diving save and came out of her box to stop Debinha in the 57th minute.
In the 84th minute, Ashley Hatch nearly opened her NWSL scoring account, but Sheridan was there with a fingertip save. Sheridan finished the match with six saves. The NC Courage’s first half effort was enough to lock in the 2-0 victory and remain and the top of the NWSL Table for six consecutive weeks.
Coming Up Next:
The NC Courage travels to Chicago for a rematch against the Red Stars on Saturday, May 27. The team returns home on Saturday, June 3 to host FC Kansas City for the first time this season. Fans can purchase their tickets at NCFCTix.com or by calling our box office at 919-459-8144.
NC: Katelyn Rowland; Yuri Kawamura, Abby Erceg ©, Abby Dahlkemper; Jaelene Hinkle (Sam Witteman, 77′), McCall Zerboni, Sam Mewis, Taylor Smith (Makenzy Doniak, 65′); Debinha; Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald (Ashley Hatch, 70′)
Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Rosana, Kris Hamilton, Meredith Speck
NJ: Kailen Sheridan; Christie Pearce ©, Erica Skroski, Kayla Mills, Mandy Freeman; Sarah Killion, Nicole Stanton (Maya Hayes, 73′), Daphne Corboz (Raquel Rodriguez, 65′); Kelley O’Hara, Leah Galton, McKenzie Meehan (Samantha Kerr, 55′)
Subs not used: Caroline Casey, Taylor Lytle, Erin Simon, Madison Tiernan
NC: Lynn Williams (Taylor Smith, 20′), Sam Mewis (42′)
NC: Abby Erceg 26′
NJ: Sarah Killion 47′, Nicole Stanton 59′
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