Match Recap: Courage Blanked by OL Reign on the Road
SEATTLE, WA (July 1, 2022) — The North Carolina Courage couldn’t find the back of the net in Friday night’s 2-0 loss against OL Reign at Lumen Field in downtown Seattle. A late one on the East Coast, the match featured goals from Reign midfielder Jess Fishlock and forward Bethany Balcer.
“I don’t think anyone played poorly,” Head Coach Sean Nahas said. “I thought we had a really good performance. I thought we had players playing out of their position, we had players stepping up. Katelyn Rowland was brilliant, but we didn’t get the result. I thought the performance and the opportunities that we created were decent. Both of their goals were quite similar in fashion, but as I told the team after the game, I don’t have any negative things to say.”
Courage forward Kerolin Nicoli tried to capitalize on a close chance in the 17th minute, but Reign keeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce came up big to save the low shot. At the other end of the pitch, OL Reign tried to break the ice in the 36th minute as attacker Tziarra King sent a ball at a narrow angle toward the net. It was only Courage keeper Katelyn Rowland’s reach and dexterity that kept the match scoreless.
Rowland would again stop a first-half Reign attack as Jess Fishlock fired a shot to the goal, coming up big with a save-of-the-week contender. The first 45 ended with another chance apiece for Kerolin Nicoli and Fishlock, but the teams were still scoreless.
Then, in the 52nd minute, Jess Fishlock found a critical chance. A clean finish on a pass from Bethany Balcer was all it took to give OL Reign the 1-0 lead. The hosts would strike again to double their lead in the 74th minute, this time with Bethany Balcer earning the goal on a pass from Jess Fishlock at the top of the box. The visiting Courage continued their press but were unable to capitalize on any other chances.
Despite the loss, the match highlighted a pair of significant player milestones. Midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri, signed by the Courage in January 2021 after North Carolina acquired her rights from the OL Reign in a successful discovery challenge, earned her first professional/Courage start. Tagliaferri recorded one cross and two tackles-won in 64 minutes of play on Friday night.
“This has always been my dream,” Tagliaferri said. “Making that bridge from college to [the NWSL], I called two of my college coaches before the game today just to hear their voices. They’ve been with me through a lot and my family was really excited. For me it’s been about having confidence in myself and having confidence in the preparation of the team and just enjoying the moment. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little girl and to do it with this group of women has been amazing.”
Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland reached and surpassed 5,000 minutes of NWSL action on Friday night, making her just the 12th NWSL keeper to reach the milestone in league history.
Up Next: The North Carolina Courage hit the road again, this time heading to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday, July 10, at 6 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+ and Twitch (internationally).
- Frankie Tagliaferri earned her first professional start.
- Katelyn Rowland passed the 5,000 NWSL minutes played milestone
NC: Katelyn Rowland, Jaelene Daniels, Carson Pickett, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias, Malia Berkely, Denise O’Sullivan (Emily Gray — 46’), Meredith Speck (Brittany Ratcliffe — 87’), Kerolin, Brianna Pinto (Ryan Williams — 80’), Frankie Tagliaferri (Rylee Baisden — 65’)
Subs Not Used: Marisa Bova, Katie Bowen, Haleigh Stackpole, Tess Boade, Jorian Baucom
RGN: Phallon Tullis-Joyce, Lauren Barnes, Samantha Hiatt, Phoebe McClernon, Sinclaire Miramontez, Olivia Van der Jagt, Kim Little (Nikki Stanton — 46’), Tziarra King (Ally Watt — 61’), Jess Fishlock, Veronica Latsko (Olivia Athens — 84’), Bethany Balcer (Marley Canales — 90+3’)
Subs Not Used: Laurel Ivory, Claudia Dickey, Alyssa Malonson, Ryanne Brown, Elli Reed
RGN: Jess Fishlock — 52’ (Bethany Balcer); Bethany Balcer — 74’ (Jess Fishlock)
NC: Meredith Speck — 55’; Kerolin — 85’