Courage Settle for Wild 3-3 Draw

by Fran Stuchbury
September 4, 2023 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage

North Carolina Courage take on NJ/NY Gotham FC
North Carolina Courage take on NJ/NY Gotham FC
(North Carolina Courage, Credit: Fran Stuchbury)

The North Carolina Courage played to a 3-3 draw against NJ/NY Gotham FC in front of 6,389 fans WakeMed Soccer Park Saturday night. This was the second straight draw for North Carolina. The third-place Courage have scored in their last eight games in the NWSL, their longest scoring streak this season.

North Carolina scored first in the 19th minute by Narumi Miura, her first NWSL regular season goal after scoring during the NWSL Challenge Cup.

The Courage expanded its lead to 2-0 in the 41st minute with a goal by Kerolin, her team-leading ninth goal of the campaign, assisted by Haley Hopkins. Kerolin added two assists in the game.

"Entertaining match; (I) know that we played really, really well in the first half," said Courage Head Coach Sean Nahas. "To go up 2-0 on really good chances and performance and good bills and good possession, that was a bright spot. Then we made it a little chaotic in the second half. There's a lot of good moments and then some moments where we just gotta stop giving up goals that should not be given up. We had plenty of chances; we didn't make the most of them."

Gotham FC made it 2-1 with a penalty kick by midfielder Jenna Nighswonger.

Esther Gonzalez, who won the 2023 Women's World Cup with Spain, made her debut for Gotham FC in the 65th minute.

The Courage extended its lead to 3-1 in the 69th minute with a score by forward Haley Hopkins, her first NWSL goal.

"We felt that energy in the crowd tonight", said Hopkins . "Any big play any big moment that crowd was absolutely electric tonight and we fed off of that."

Hopkins played at Virginia and was selected by the Courage in the first round (11th overall) of the 2023 NWSL Draft.

"When this place is packed, it is electrifying," added Nahas "When you compare that to a 2,500 - 3,000 crowd, that's not even close. I promise you if that was a 2,-3000 crowd we don't have that energy the last ten minutes. It is so important for this place to be packed out. It's the smallest stadium in the league; it should be packed out every single week. There is no doubt those fans today benefitted us in the moments we needed it."

Gotham FC cut the lead to 3-2 in the 73rd minute on a score by midfielder Maitane Lopez. She signed with the team on July 6, 2023.

The visitors evened the game at 3-3 in the 83rd minute thanks to Midge Purce on her third goal of the season. It was the first time Gotham FC scored three goals in the second half of any match this season.

The next North Carolina Courage game is Wednesday on the road against the Kansas City Current in the semifinals of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Images from this story

North Carolina Courage take on NJ/NY Gotham FC
North Carolina Courage take on NJ/NY Gotham FC

(Fran Stuchbury)

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