Match Recap: Courage Defeat KC Current 2-1 on the Road in Challenge Cup Semifinal
Kansas City, KS (May 4, 2022) – The North Carolina Courage bested the Kansas City Current, 2-1, in the NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinal match on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park. With the win, the Courage advance to the NWSL Challenge Cup Final on Saturday, May 7, at 1 p.m. North Carolina will play host to the Washington Spirit in Cary — tickets go on sale Thursday, May 5, at 10 a.m. ET. More information can be found here.
“First half, I thought we were really good,” Head Coach Sean Nahas said. “Obviously to go up 2-0 and play some pretty good football. The second half was completely [Kansas City], but the important thing is we didn’t break. … We bent, but didn’t break. And to solidify that result against a good team, you know, I couldn’t be any prouder of the group.”
The Courage first added to the scoreline with a penalty kick by Debinha in the 19th minute of the match. The initial play began with a lofted ball sent in by Jaelene Daniels onto the run of Kerolin Nicoli in between two KC defenders. Kerolin cut inside to take a shot, deflecting off the hand of KC defender Jenna Winebrenner. The Courage were awarded a penalty kick, which saw Debinha step up to the spot to bury the goal, her fifth goal in five-straight Challenge Cup games, sixth on the season.
With 10 minutes left in the half, Diana Ordoñez added to the Courage lead, netting her first professional/Courage goal in her first start. The scoring play began with Kerolin zig-zagging her way through the Current defense, and sending a driven cross onto the run of Ordoñez at the back post, sliding in to put away the second Courage goal of the match.
“It’s awesome, I was very, very excited,” Ordoñez said of scoring her first pro goal. “From what I’ve been starting to learn about [Kerolin’s] game … I feel like I never know whether she’s going to cross or going to shoot. But my thought process is always like ‘I need to be on the other end of this in case it does come across the goal,’ and — yeah — it worked out. Came right to me.”
With 10 minutes remaining in the match, KC forward Kristen Hamilton added a goal for the home side to split the Courage lead in half. However, the Courage were able to hold out until the end, solidifying the win and punching their ticket home to host the Washington Spirit in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Final.
“Getting back to being in a final this early seems a bit crazy,” Courage defender Carson Pickett said about the side reaching the Challenge Cup Final. “It doesn’t feel like a preseason tournament, it feels like the real deal. To get Washington back at home, it’s perfect timing and a perfect place. We’re so excited. We can’t wait to get back home and play on our home turf and have our fans in the stands.”
Up Next: With tonight’s win, the Courage advance to host the Challenge Cup Final this Saturday, May 7 at 1 p.m. ET against the Washington Spirit. The Courage’s previously scheduled regular season home opener match against the Portland Thorns has been moved to August 24 at 7 p.m. ET.
Tickets for the Challenge Cup Final go on sale Thursday May 5 at 10 a.m. More information can be found here.
- Diana Ordoñez scored her first professional/Courage goal and made her first professional start in Wednesday’s match at Kansas City.
- Debinha scored her fifth 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup goal, which added to her record five-game scoring streak. She now holds the record for goals in consecutive Cup games (5) and extended her Cup career goal total to nine (most of any NWSL player).
- Kerolin Nicoli played a major role in both Courage goals, creating the handball opportunity in the box to lead to the penalty, and sending the cross in for Ordonez’s goal in the 36’, in addition to logging six total shots throughout the match.
NC (4-4-2): Katelyn Rowland, Jaelene Daniels (Carson Pickett – 62’), Abby Erceg, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias, Meredith Speck (Brianna Pinto – 76’), Denise O’Sullivan, Debinha (Ryan Williams – 86’), Emily Gray (Malia Berkely – 62’), Kerolin Nicoli, Diana Ordoñez (Taylor Smith – 62’)
Subs Not Used: Rylee Baisden, Marisa Bova, Brittany Ratcliffe, Katie Bowen
KC (5-2-3): Adrianna Franch, Elizabeth Ball, Taylor Leach, Jenna Winebrenner (Lo’eau LaBonta – 46’), Izzy Rodriguez (Hailie Mace – 46’), Desiree Scott, Alex Loera (Chardonnay Curran – 65’), Kristen Edmonds, Elyse Bennett (Addie McCain – 72’), Victoria Pickett (Kate Del Fava – 71’), Kristen Hamilton
Subs Not Used: Cassie Miller, Sydney Schneider, Maddie Nolf, Jaycie Johnson
NC: Debinha (PK) – 19’, Diana Ordoñez (Kerolin Nicoli) – 36’
KC: Kristen Hamilton (Addie McCain) – 79’
NC: Emily Gray – 55’, Diana Ordoñez – 59’, Merritt Mathias – 90+2’
KC: Jenna Winebrenner – 19’, Kristen Hamilton – 68’