CARY, N.C. (April 17, 2019) – It was domination as usual for the North Carolina Courage in a 5-0 victory over the Orlando Pride at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday night. A first-half goal paired with four second-half goals brought the match to its final score. Lynn Williams found the net first followed by Jessica McDonald. Crystal Dunn then found the back of the net twice before Julia Spetsmark put in the fifth goal. The Courage has a 1W-0L-1D record on the season.
“We got in some good second balls and created five or six great chances in the second half,” said NC Courage head coach Paul Riley. “It was great to get our first win and get the ball rolling.”
Orlando held back the Courage early, sitting deep in its own territory. As the first half winded down, the Courage found an opening in the defense. Crystal Dunn gained possession of a poor clearance and found a wide-open Williams waiting to her right. Williams made no mistake on the finish and ripped her shot past Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris. A minute later, the halftime whistle sounded.
A similar pace of play continued in the second half as the Courage extended its lead. In the 55th minute, the Courage doubled its lead with a goal from McDonald. Another turnover from the Orlando defense led to another goal, as Lynn Williams dispossessed an Orlando defender and fed an open McDonald who scored with ease.
Later in the match, Dunn found the back of the net to make it 3-0. A wild, loose ball in the box eventually fell to Dunn after bouncing off several players seconds before. The forward wasn’t done scoring and added to her tally in the 76th minute. In a similar situation, a cross was deflected across the six-yard box before falling to Dunn. The New Hyde Park, N.Y., native buried her shot at the far post to extend the Courage lead to 4-0. The goal was Dunn’s third of the season.
The Courage capped off the scoring in the 88th minute with Julia Spetsmark’s debut Courage goal. The Swedish international’s shot was deflected off the crossbar before dropping in the net. Kristen Hamilton provided the assist on the play.
The Courage played out the final few minutes of the game to end the match with a 5-0 result.
The North Carolina Courage travel for their first road test against the Houston Dash on Sunday, April 28. The game will take place at 6:00 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium.
NCC (4-4-2 Box): Stephanie Labbé; Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt Mathias; Crystal Dunn (Kristen Hamilton, 84’), McCall Zerboni, Samantha Mewis, Denise O’Sullivan; Lynn Williams (Julia Spetsmark, 74’), Jessica McDonald (Leah Pruitt, 79’)
Subs not used: Sam Leshnak, Kaleigh Kurtz, Liz Eddy, Heather O’Reilly,
ORL (4-3-3): Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Alanna Kennedy, Shelina Zadorsky, Carson Pickett; Dani Weatherholt, Emily Van Egmond, Chioma Ubogagu (Camila, 73’); Rachel Hill (Kristen Edmonds, 81’), Alex Morgan, Marta
Subs not used: Haley Kopmeyer, Erin Greening, Marisa Viggiano, Joanna Boyles, Bridget Callahan
NCC: Lynn Williams (Crystal Dunn, 45’), Jessica McDonald (Lynn Williams, 55’), Crystal Dunn (Unassisted, 70’, Unassisted, 77’), Julia Spetsmark (Kristen Hamilton, 88’)
NCC: Denise O’Sullivan 45+’, McCall Zerboni 64’
ORL: Marta 85’