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North Carolina Courage Return To Winning Ways With 4-1 Win Over Seattle Reign FC

By NC Courage Communications, 06/23/18, 6:30PM EDT


CARY, N.C. (June 23, 2018) - The North Carolina Courage (10W-1L-3D, 1st place) made a statement in Seattle, defeating Seattle Reign FC (5W-3L-4D, 3rd place) 4-1 today to extend their league lead to 33 total points. A Crystal Dunn brace highlighted the match, while a tally from Lynn Williams and Merritt Mathias each combined to give the NC Courage one of their highest-scoring victories in team history.
The NC Courage opened up the match with several opportunities in front of Seattle’s goal. Just seven minutes into the game, the Courage were awarded a penalty kick after a handball in the box. Williams stepped up to take the kick, but her shot was blocked by an alert Lydia Williams to keep the score tied at zero early.
The Reign found the board first when Megan Oyster got on the end of Megan Rapinoe’s free kick in the 18th minute. However, the NC Courage did not trail for long, and Williams sought to make up for her saved PK. She netted the 28th goal of her NWSL career, heading in a cross from Jaelene Hinkle in the 27th minute.
After the equalizer, the Courage continued the intense offensive pressure, creating several chances in a span of minutes following their goal, including a shot from Debinha that deflected off the cross bar. The team’s attempts would pay off again in the 33rd minute thanks to a rocket from Dunn giving the Courage a 2-1 lead over Seattle to end the first half.
North Carolina carried over their goal-scoring frenzy into the second half as Merritt Mathias took it upon herself to give the Courage a two-goal lead. The outside back dribbled nearly 20 yards before ripping a shot into the back of the net past Williams in the 48th minute.
The scoring persisted into the 70th minute when Williams and Dunn linked up in the attacking third to give Dunn her first brace as a member of the NC Courage. With the final score of 4-1, the NC Courage re-established their league dominance, and locked in their 10th win of 2018.
Match Notes:

  • McCall Zerboni etched her name into NWSL history Saturday afternoon against Seattle Reign FC, becoming the first player in league history to play 10,000 regular-season minutes. The 31-year-old reached the milestone in the 21st minute of the match, the latest achievement in what’s been an accomplishment-filled 2018 season for Zerboni. Twice-named the NWSL Player of the Week, Zerboni has scored three goals for the Courage and her good form landed her a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Team for its two friendly matches against China, as she made her second international appearance.
  • With the win, the Courage improved to 5W-0L-0D against Seattle since relocating to Cary in 2017.
  • For the second year in a row, the Courage ended an impressive Seattle winning streak. The Courage’s victory on Saturday snapped Seattle's four-match home winning streak to start the season. A season ago, the Courage’s 2-1 win at Seattle in August 2017 brought a 15-match home unbeaten run to an end.
  • With the four goals scored on Saturday, the Courage are averaging three goals per game on the road (21 in seven matches).
  • Crystal Dunn’s brace, her first of 2018,  moved her up to No. 2 on NWSL’s list of top goal scorers. Dunn now has six goals on the season, one behind Portland’s Christine Sinclair.
  • Saturday’s match marked the fourth time in 2018 the Courage scored four-plus goals in a game.
  • The Courage improved to 6W-0L-1D on the road.
  • In addition to scoring her fourth goal of the season, Lynn Williams recorded her first multi-assist performance since August 27, 2016.

Coming Up Next:
The Courage close out its two-game road swing against the Orlando Pride on Saturday, June 30, at 3:30 p.m. ET in the Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week.
On May 23, the Courage won a seven-goal thriller in Orlando, with McDonald providing the game-winner in the 90th minute of the 4-3 victory.
Box Score:
SEA: Lydia Williams, Megan Oyster, Stephanie Catley, Alyssa Kleiner (Nahomi Kawasumi, 65’), Kristen McNabb, Allie Long, Elizabeth Addo, Rumi Utsugi (Morgan Andrews, 58’), Megan Rapinoe ©, Beverly Yanez (Adrianna Leon, 65’), Jodie Taylor

Subs not used: Michelle Betos, Theresa Nielsen, Jasmyne Spencer, Maddie Bauer

NCC: Katelyn Rowland, Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias, Debinha (Meredith Speck, 83’), McCall Zerboni, Crystal Dunn, Denise O’Sullivan, Jess McDonald (Darian Jenkins 86’), Lynn Williams (Kristen Hamilton, 78’)

Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Cari Roccaro, Yuri Kawamura

SEA: 1
NCC: 4
SEA: Megan Oyster (Megan Rapinoe, 18’)
NCC: Lynn Williams (Jaelene Hinkle, 27’), Crystal Dunn (Lynn Williams, 33’), Merritt Mathias (Unassisted, 48’), Crystal Dunn (Lynn Williams, 70’)

SEA: --
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SEA: --
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Attendance: 4,032