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Courage Break out in Dominating Win

by Fran Stuchbury
April 18, 2019 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage

The North Carolina Courage, defending champions of the National Women's Soccer League, won their first game of the season with a dominating 5-0 performance against the Orlando Pride in front of 4,292 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park Wednesday night. The result was the league's largest winning margin since the Courage defeated the Houston Dash 5-0 on September 8, 2018. It was also the most lopsided loss in Orlando Pride franchise history since they joined the NWSL for the 2016 season.

The Courage scored one goal late in the first half, at the 45th minute, by Lynn Williams, with an assist by Crystal Dunn to give the North Carolina a 1-0 lead heading into halftime, much to the delight of the team's fan club, "The Junkyard Dogs."

Williams' goal:

"Crystal got the ball and dribbled straight up the middle," Williams explained. "Everybody collapsed on her, and I just stayed wide. She played a beautiful ball to me and I just saw the far corner and put it there."

The Courage dominated the second half with four goals. In the 55th minute Jessica McDonald scored with an assist from Williams. McDonald was named MVP in North Carolina's 3-0 victory over the Portland Thorns in the NWSL Championship last season.

Dunn then found the net with two unassisted goals in the 70th and 77th minutes. She now has three goals on the season.

The two goals scored by Dunn:

Julia Spetsmark, making her NWSL debut as a sub in the74th minute, closed the scoring in the 88th minute, assisted by Kristen Hamilton. Spetsmark is a Swedish international midfielder the Courage acquired on January 7th.

"We were nonstop, our pressure was constant," said North Carolina head coach Paul Riley.

"I liked the way we played tonight," added Riley. "If we can build from this, it's a great start to the season. Getting a win at home was big because the longer that took, the more pressure we would have had."

The North Carolina Courage hit the road for their next game against the Houston Dash on April 28th. They will return home on May 5th at WakeMed Soccer Park against Sky Blue FC.

Images from this story

The scoreboard tells of the North Carolina Courage's dominance vs. the Orlando Pride
The scoreboard tells of the North Carolina Courage's dominance vs. the Orlando Pride

(Fran Stuchbury)
North Carolina Courage vs. the Orlando Pride
North Carolina Courage vs. the Orlando Pride

(Fran Stuchbury)

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