Box Score ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 17, 2023) — The North Carolina Courage fell to the Orlando Pride, 2-1, Sunday night at Exploria Stadium. The Courage sit in fourth place (28 points, 8-7-4) in the league table with three regular season matches remaining.
Orlando wasted no time getting on the attack, striking within the first minute of play. They picked up a loose ball at the edge of the attacking third and Adrianna made a backdoor pass to Ally Watt on a well-timed run to spring behind the back line and sneak one past Casey Murphy despite a great one-on-one effort from the Courage keeper.
The Courage had their first real chance to answer in the 13’ when Kerolin Nicoli drove the right flank, beating the defender and centering a pass for Haley Hopkins, but her shot cleared the bar. Minutes later, Kerolin drew a foul that put Rafaelle into the referee’s book, giving the Courage a free kick deep in the attacking third. The set-up led to a loose ball in front of goal, but Orlando was able to clear the danger.
The Pride doubled their lead straight out of the hydration break in the first half. Julie Doyle played Adrianna through on the left flank and she blistered down straight in on goal for a breakaway finish.
The Courage got a goal back early in the second half. Emily Fox carried the left wing and rolled a centering pass to the top of the box. A nice dummy by Haley Hopkins freed Manaka to one-time finish into the corner netting and get the Courage back in the match. The Courage built another chance just two minutes later, when a combo found Kerolin on the right edge of the box and her cross glanced off the head of Fox, but it sailed high.
The Courage went down a player in the later stages of the match when Malia Berkely committed a foul to stop a counter in the 78′ and was shown a straight red card for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity. The play was reviewed by VAR, but ultimately upheld. It was the second red card shown to the Courage this season. The Courage had a few more half-chances, but down a player they could not find the equalizer.
Next Match: The Courage continue their road swing as they visit OL Reign on Sunday, October 1, for a 8:00 p.m. ET (5:00 PT) kickoff at Lumen Field. The match will stream live on Paramount+ in the United States and on nwslsoccer.com internationally.
NCC (4-3-3): Casey Murphy, Emily Fox, Malia Berkely (red card – 78’), Kaleigh Kurtz, Ryan Williams, Narumi (Brianna Pinto – 75’), Denise O’Sullivan © (Olivia Wingate – 87’), Manaka (Mille Gejl – 75’), Haley Hopkins (Rikke Madsen – 64’), Tess Boade (Tyler Lussi – 64’), Kerolin Nicoli
Subs Not Used: Katelyn Rowland, Sydney Collins, Kiki Pickett, Frankie Tagliaferri
ORL (4-4-2): Carly Nelson, Kylie Strom, Emily Madril, Rafaelle Souza, Haley McCutcheon, Mikayla Cluff (Viviana Villacorta – 64’), Jordyn Listro (Brianna Martínez – 90+5’), Julie Doyle (Kerry Abello – 64’), Adriana (Celia Jiménez – 90+5’), Marta ©, Ally Watt (Messiah Bright – 56’)
Subs Not Used: McKinley Crone, Megan Montefusco, Mariana Larroquette, Erika Tymrak,
NCC: Manaka – 53’ (Fox)
ORL: A. Watt – 1’ (Adrianna); Adrianna – 32’ (Doyle)
NCC: T. Lussi – 70’; R. Williams – 88’; Courage Bench – 89’
ORL: Rafaelle – 16’. Orlando Bench – 84’
NCC: M. Berkely – 78’