Cary, NC – Intense storms pushed the North Carolina Courage’s home game back a day but the team played energized and focused, winning against the Washington Spirit.
Hard Fought Game
After weather rescheduled the match, the North Carolina Courage took on the Washington Spirit on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
While the Courage, like their fellow Cary team North Carolina FC, are known for their fast play style and scoring early, neither team were able to make a goal in the first half of gameplay. The Courage still played hard, with much more ball control and outshooting Washington 20-6. Also, for most of that first half, the Courage were in Washington’s territory, within striking distance.
A good chance at a goal came in the 24th minute after Washington’s Paige Nielsen got a red card after a confrontation with Debinha, but even with a player advantage, the Courage were unable to score.
Finally, it was not until the 64th minute that the Courage could put numbers on the board. In a fast-paced series of events, Jaelene Hinkle passed a cross to Julia Spetsmark, who then hit a header off of the ball. That header then went to Debinha, who hit a volley and got the score up to 1-0.
From then on, all focus was on Courage goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé, who protected the net, even after successive attempts from both Ashley Hatch and Cheyna Matthews on the Washington side.
With the net protected by Labbé, the game ended 1-0, giving the Courage the home win.
The final 1-0 score belies how much control the Courage had over the ball for the majority of the match and how many shots they made on goal.
“We had some moments of brilliance today,” said Courage Head Coach Paul Riley. “We had some great moments at times. Our two fullbacks were excellent in getting in lots of balls today.”
The Courage remain the top-ranked team in the league with this match. This game was also played without the Courage’s World Cup winning players – Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Jessica McDonald and Samantha Mewis – because of the Victory Tour in Ireland.
But all four players will be back in time for the home game against Seattle Reign FC on Saturday, August 24, 2019, led by Women’s World Cup captain Megan Rapinoe.
Story by staff reports. Photos courtesy of the North Carolina Courage.