NC Courage Win First Ever Women’s International Champions Cup
Courage defeat five-time UEFA Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais in hard-fought battle.
Miami, Fla. (Sunday, July 29) – The North Carolina Courage captured the first ever Women’s International Champions Cup by defeating five-time UEFA Champions League winner Olympique Lyonnais Feminin 1-0 on Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Three-time Olympic champion Heather O’Reilly scored the lone goal for the Courage, tallying her first in a Courage uniform. A stellar performance by Sabrina D’Angelo and the back line kept the result, giving the 2017 NWSL Shield winners their second trophy since relocating to North Carolina.
Another hot, muggy night dictated play on the field as both teams applied pressure early on, but it only took the Courage 10 minutes to score the game winner. Lynn Williams took advantage of a miscued back pass from Lyon midfielder Saki Kumagai and brought it down the left side before crossing it to an oncoming O’Reilly. The UNC-Chapel Hill standout struck it towards the goal and underneath Olympique goalkeeper Lisa Weiß.
The Courage continued to look dangerous as Williams continued to be a threat for the Lyon defense forcing a corner kick in the 23rd minute and another one in the 33rd. D’Angelo was called into action in the 38th minute for the first clear opportunity by Lyon when Shanice van de Sanden went one-v-one towards goal only to see her chance thwarted by the Canadian international. Lyon continued to look for an equalizer before halftime but to no avail.
Out of the gates for the second half Olympique started to push harder. In the 57th minute, D’Angelo was called into action again when she deftly saved a cross from midfielder Carolin Simon.
A few minutes later the Courage backstopper was forced into a diving save after a blast by former Portland Thorns midfielder Amandine Henry in the 64th, and again in the 73rd following a shot by Amel Majri.
Olympique continued to lay siege to the Courage goal, but the exceptional defense by the whole team and D’Angelo helped preserve the result and the 1-0 win.
-Heather O’Reilly scored her first goal in a NC Courage uniform
-Lynn Williams recorded her second assist of the touranament. Both assists resulted in gamewinners
-Defender Ryan Williams earned her first start
-Duke standout defender Morgan Reid made her second career appearance
-Head Coach Paul Riley’s 4-1-4-1 formation marked the first time he started a lone forward up top since the team relocated to North Carolina.
NCC (4-1-4-1): Sabrina D’Angelo; Jaelen Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Kaleigh Kurtz, Ryan Williams (Morgan Reid, 83’); Yuri Kawamura (Cari Roccaro, 31’); Kristen Hamilton (Jessica McDonald, 61’), Meredith Speck, Denise O’Sullivan, Heather O’Reilly (Darian Jenkins, 61’); Lynn Williams
Subs not used: Katelyn Rowland, Liz Eddy, Sarah Teegarden, Julia Aronov, Tori Hansen, Carlin Hudson
Olympique Lyonnais (4-1-4-1): Lisa Weiß; Carolin Simon, Wendie Renard © (Griedge Mbock Bathy, 78’), Kadeisha Buchanan, Lucy Bronze; Saki Kumagai; Eugenie Le Sommer, Isobel Christiansen (Amel Majri, 46’), Amandine Henry, Shanice van de Sanden (Delphine Cascarino, 61’), Ada Hegerberg
Subs not used: Audrey Dupupet
NCC: Heather O’Reilly (Lynn Williams, 10’)
NCC: Cari Roccaro 69’
LYN: Kadeisha Buchanan 81’,