Courage Complete Strong Homestand with Angel City Draw

by Fran Stuchbury
May 22, 2023 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage

North Carolina Courage battle Angel City FC
North Carolina Courage battle Angel City FC
(North Carolina Courage, Credit: Fran Stuchbury)

The North Carolina Courage and Angel City FC played to a scoreless draw in front of 4,723 at WakeMed Soccer Park Saturday night.

The Courage are unbeaten in four straight regular season matches and six of their last seven overall competitions to bring their record to 3-3-2, good for sixth place in the NWSL standings. Their opponent Angel City FC remained in ninth place.

"I thought we were really, really good in the first half," said North Carolina Courage head coach Sean Nahas. "I told the group (when) we don't take our chances or half chances, you keep teams in the games. Angel City FC has some quality in the group, and they made a couple of tweaks in terms of the press, and we just struggled with it in the second half. It was a little bit erratic; we stretched players standing in an area we didn't want them to stand but credit to them.

"I think a draw... I hate saying it's fair. We could have easily lost it at the end. We had about 40 touches in the box. I don't know how many shots we got we off; we were either too narrow or too cute. The cuteness will have to stop immediately. We gave them too many free chances to nick one at the end there. I think overall the performance of the team was another good one."

The Courage created opportunities with 12 shots, including three on target and one off the woodwork. Angel City FC totaled six shots and one shot on goal.

Casey Murphy recorded her fourth clean sheet of the season. Murphy signed with OL Reign in 2019 before being traded late the next year to the Courage along with $140,000 of allocation money for Crystal Dunn. She has been part of the United States National Team since 2021.

North Carolina midfielder Meredith Speck was encouraged by the team's play during a tough stretch.

"I think you can see three months in the season and there's a bit more chemistry," she said. "Things are starting to click for us. I think being undefeated at home is really important. We tidied up a few things defensively, and we have been more aggressive defensively which has helped us attack more which has been good."

"It's actually starting to feel really special that is an advantage playing at home," Speck continued. "I hate to say for a long time it didn't feel like an advantage playing at home. So for us, we never really had the excuse of home and away. Home didn't feel that much different as away, so I think that works in our favor. We never made an excuse going away so we expect to put on the same performance we put on at home."

Speck started her NWSL career with the Western New York Flash in 2016. The Flash moved to North Carolina in 2017 and rebranded as the North Carolina Courage.

"Fans and people alike should be proud of the way this team is playing," Nahas added. "The style they play is really attractive and fun. We're babies; it's only going get better from here for sure."

The Courage play their next four games on the road starting with at Racing Louisville FC on Saturday. North Carolina's next home game is Saturday, June 17th at 7 pm against the Orlando Pride.

Images from this story

North Carolina Courage battle Angel City FC
North Carolina Courage battle Angel City FC

(Fran Stuchbury)
North Carolina Courage battle Angel City FC
North Carolina Courage battle Angel City FC

(Fran Stuchbury)

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