Mewis' Late Winner Lifts North Carolina to 1-0 Win over Houston Dash
CARY, N.C. - The North Carolina Courage used a late goal by midfielder Samantha Mewis from the penalty spot to defeat the Houston Dash 1-0 Tuesday night at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, clinching a spot in the NWSL Playoffs and extending their winning streak to four matches.
On a night where the Courage outshot Houston 18-7, it was Mewis' first goal of the season, coming in the 87th minute, that lifted head coach Paul Riley's team to its 13th win of 2019. With three games remaining, the Courage (13W-4L-4D, 43 points) can finish no lower than fourth place and need just three more points to clinch the NWSL Shield for the third consecutive season.
"The biggest thing for us is the clean sheet and getting the points," Riley said. "It wasn't a great performance by any stretch of the imagination. It's a fatigued team right now. We've got a short turnaround before we get back on a flight to Utah."
Coming off a pair of six-goal performances and playing in their fourth game in 10 days, the Courage stayed active offensively Tuesday night but found a hard time getting past Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell. The Courage put four shots on frame in the first alone, with the best early chances coming in the 23rd and 28th minutes.
First, forward Kristen Hamilton chased down a partially cleared ball and aimed at goal, only to see Campbell get big and make one of her four saves. Five minutes later, midfielder Debinha was the beneficiary of a pinpoint, low-to-the-ground cross from forward Lynn Williams, but the Brazilian had her effort saved by Campbell.
Nothing separated the two teams after the opening 45 minutes, and that remained the case for much of the night despite the Courage constantly knocking on the door. In the 81st minute, midfielder Crystal Dunn came agonizingly close to a go-ahead goal. After Williams controlled a cross into the box from second-half substitute Heather O'Reilly, Dunn's powerfully driven shot hit the crossbar.
Ultimately, the Courage's reward for a night's worth of pressure came just a few moments later when Dunn was brought down in the box in the 86th minute by Houston defender Kristie Mewis, the sister of Samantha.
With the game on the line, Samantha Mewis calmly delivered a hard-hit, accurate penalty kick, placing the ball in the bottom left corner, turning one point into three for the Courage.
Having a new lead to protect, the Courage did just that and protected their advantage in the game's final stage, securing the victory.
Fact to Know
Samantha Mewis' 87th-minute game-winning goal was the Courage's latest game-winner since Jessica McDonald's 92nd-minute strike to defeat Sky Blue FC 1-0 on March 31, 2018.
- With Tuesday's win, the North Carolina Courage (13W-4L-4D, 43 points) clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs. Three regular-season matches remain for the Courage, who can clinch the NWSL Shield for a third consecutive year with one more win or three draws.
- The Courage extended their longest winning streak of the season to five matches.
- The Courage improved to 7W-0L-4D at home.
- Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe recorded her seventh clean sheet of the year.
- Jessica McDonald, Heather O'Reilly and Julia Spetsmark appeared as second-half substitutes.
- The Courage improved to 7W-0L-1D all-time against Houston.
The Courage hit the road for their third game this season against Utah Royals FC on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The NC Courage drew 1-1 against Utah on May 19 at home and most recently won 2-1 in Utah on July 27.
The Courage's next home match is on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET in the regular-season finale. For tickets and information please visit NCCourage.com or call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144.
NCC (4-4-2) : Stephanie Labbe'; Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt Mathias (Heather O'Reilly, 78'); Crystal Dunn, Denise O'Sullivan, Samantha Mewis, Debinha (Julia Spetsmark, 83'); Lynn Williams, Kristen Hamilton (Jessica McDonald, 65')
Subs not used: Katelyn Rowland, McCall Zerboni, McKenzie Meehan, Kaleigh Kurtz
HOU (4-1-4-1): Jane Campbell; Allysha Chapman, Amber Brooks, Ally Prisock, Haley Hanson; Sophie Schmidt; Kealia Ohai ©, Kristie Mewis, Christine Nairn (Cece Kizer, 89'), Sofia Huerta; Rachel Daly
Subs not used: Bianca Henninger, Lindsay Agnew, Ari Romero, Cami Privett, Jamia Fields, Ari Calderon
Score: NCC: 1 HOU: 0
Goals: NCC: Samantha Mewis (Penalty, 87') HOU: -- Cautions: NCC: -- HOU: Rachel Daly 73', Amber Brooks 74', Kristie Mewis 86'
Ejections: NCC: -- HOU: -- Attendance: 4,943
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