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NC Courage Faces Sky Blue FC in Second Home Game of 2018 Season

By Brennan Doherty , 03/30/18, 3:00PM EDT

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MATCHDAY INFO:
NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE VS. SKY BLUE FC 
SAHLEN’S STADIUM AT WAKEMED SOCCER PARK
KICKOFF: SATURDAY, MARCH 31-3 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: go90 APP, go90.COM, NWSLSOCCER.COM, WRAL2
LIVE UPDATES: @THENCCOURAGE #NCvNJ

PREGAME ACTIVITIES: Egg Hunt and Equipment Drive with MIX 101.5 benefitting One World Athletics

Match Preview:

CARY, N.C. (March 30, 2018) – The North Carolina Courage (1W-0L-0D) will attempt to build upon last week’s good start to the season when they host Sky Blue FC (0W-0L-0D) at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.

A week ago, the reigning NWSL Shield winners began the 2018 season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory in a 2017 NWSL Championship rematch against Portland Thorns FC thanks to a 70th minute goal from midfielder Debinha and a collectively strong defensive performance.

Saturday’s match will serve as the season opener for Sky Blue, which had a bye in Week 1 of the NWSL season.

Coached by first-year head coach Denise Reddy, Sky Blue is coming off a sixth-place finish in the 2017 NWSL season and is hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Series History:
Since relocating to Cary, the Courage are 1W-1L-1D against Sky Blue. Here’s a recap of what happened when the two clubs met in 2017.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Cary N.C. – 2-0 W (20’-Lynn Williams, 42’-Samantha Mewis)
The Courage moved five points clear at the top of the NWSL table thanks to a pair of first-half goals and a good effort in goal by Katelyn Rowland, who made her first start for the Courage.

Saturday, July 1, 2017, Cary N.C. – 1-0 L (84’-Samantha Kerr)
The Courage saw a three-match winning streak come to a close with a narrow loss, as Sky Blue’s Samantha Kerr, the NWSL’s leading goal scorer in 2017, scored in the game’s closing minutes.

Sunday, September 24, 2017, Piscataway, N.J. – 1-1 D (27’-Ashley Hatch, 75’-Raquel Rodriguez)
The Courage outshot Sky Blue 24-8 in what ended up being their first draw of the season after going without a tie in the first 21 games of 2017.

Fact to Know:
Dating back to 2017, the Courage are 5W-1L-0D in their last six regular-season games at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park and have kept a clean sheet in each of the five wins.

Players to Watch:
North Carolina Courage – #9 Lynn Williams
Williams couldn’t find the back of the net against Portland, but nearly did in the second minute when Jessica McDonald found her with a cross that went across the face of goal. Williams, who scored a team-best nine goals in 2017, should have more scoring opportunities against a Sky Blue side that gave up a league-worst 51 goals a season ago.

Sky Blue FC – #10 Carli Lloyd
Saturday’s match will be Lloyd’s first in a Sky Blue shirt since 2010, when she last played for the club. After playing with the Houston Dash from 2015-17, Lloyd, a two-time winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award, was traded to Sky Blue in January.

Coming Up Next:

After the upcoming international break, the Courage will hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Boyds, Maryland, to take on the Washington Spirit on Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Courage were a perfect 3W-0L-0D against Washington last season and won their first game after moving to the Triangle against the Spirit on April 15, 2017.

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