Match Recap: Courage Fall Short of Houston Dash
CARY, NC (June 19, 2022) — The North Carolina Courage fell just short of the Houston Dash on Sunday afternoon, 4-3. The match featured goals from Courage midfielder Denise O’Sullivan, Diana Ordoñez and Debinha. The North Carolina Football Club also celebrated Juneteenth this weekend, holding two days of pre-match festivals which hosted and promoted local Black-owned businesses, live music, artists and more. Courage players wore special, player-designed warm-up tops recognizing the freedom, power and importance of the Black community.
The Courage got off to a dominant start in Sunday’s outing with a golazo from midfielder Denise O’Sullivan. The Irish international received the ball from outside the box and took a beat before making a play to get the ball to the net, and wound up sending a laser of a goal-of-the-year-contending shot right past Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell and into the upper 90. The goal was O’Sullivan’s first regular-season Courage goal, and her first regular-season goal since 2016 when she played for the Dash. Her only Courage goal to date came in the 2017 semifinal vs Chicago.
The Dash responded just nine minutes later when María Sánchez slipped the ball past Courage keeper Casey Murphy.
While the first half ended at one goal apiece, ultimately, the Dash returned from the break and overpowered the Courage, netting three goals in less than 10 minutes to give them a 4-1 lead early in the second half. A pair of goals from Elizabeth Eddy and a blast from Nichelle Prince put the visitors soundly ahead.
“We didn’t show up for eight minutes, and I haven’t seen that before,” Head Coach Sean Nahas said. “But we responded well, gave ourselves chances, and could have gotten the equalizer. We made a change formation-wise just to sort of pin them back … But I was proud of the group for how they responded. There’s a lot to take out of that [performance] for sure.”
Those changes following Houston’s lead took shape in the form of Diana Ordoñez, who netted her third goal of the season, this time off a classic ball from defender Carson Pickett. The ball found a waiting Ordoñez who fired her shot through Campbell’s legs.
Two minutes later, Courage midfielder Debinha snuck a ball past Campbell to bring the game nearly within a goal. In the end, Houston prevailed, ending the Courage’s three-game unbeaten streak.
Immediately following the match, the club recognized defenders Carson Pickett and Jaelene Daniels, who both recently played in their 100th regular-season NWSL matches. Daniels recorded her milestone on April 29 at Angel City FC, and Pickett recorded hers at home on May 18 against the Orlando Pride. Sunday’s match also marked Casey Murphy’s 50th regular-season NWSL appearance.
Up Next: The North Carolina Courage hit the road again, making the trek to the Pacific Northwest to take on OL Reign FC on July 1 at 10 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+, WRAL Sports+ (locally) and Twitch (internationally).
- Denise O’Sullivan scored her first regular-season NWSL goal.
- Casey Murphy made her 50th regular-season NWSL appearance.
- Eight Courage players will now depart for international duty: Denise O’Sullivan (IRE), Havana Solaun (JAM), Katie Bowen (NZ), Diana Ordoñez (MEX), Debinha and Kerolin Nicoli (BRA), Carson Pickett and Casey Murphy (USA)
NC (4-4-2): Casey Murphy, Carson Pickett, Abby Erceg, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias (Ryan Williams — 67’), Denise O’Sullivan, Malia Berkely (Jaelene Daniels — 67’), Kerolin, Debinha, Brianna Pinto (Frankie Tagliaferri — 90+1’), Diana Ordoñez
Subs Not Used: Katelyn Rowland, Jorian Baucom, Katie Bowen, Emily Gray, Brittany Ratcliffe, Rylee Baisden, Meredith Speck
HOU: Jane Campbell, Allysha Chapman, Katie Naughton, Ally Prisock, Elizabeth Eddy, Marisa Viggiano, Sophie Schmidt, Haley Hanson, Shea Groom (Joelle Anderson — 80’), María Sánchez (Michaela Abam — 89’), Nichelle Prince (Cali Farquharson — 70’)
Subs Not Used: Ella Dederick, Julia Ashley, Emily Ogle, Ryan Gareis, Natalie Jacobs
NC: Denise O’Sullivan — 6’; Diana Ordoñez — 57’; Debinha — 59’
HOU: María Sánchez — 15’; Elizabeth Eddy — 47’, 50’; Nichelle Prince — 51’
HOU: María Sánchez — 76’