NC Courage Earn Draw with Crystal Dunn Second Half Goal in Home Opener
CARY, N.C. The North Carolina Courage opened the 2019 NWSL Season tonight against the Chicago Red Stars with a 1-1 draw. Crystal Dunn scored the equalizer goal in the second half to help the Courage earn one point. The team was honored before the match with their 2018 NWSL Championship rings presented by Charles and Colvard.
North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley had nothing but positive words following the match. "I thought it was a really good performance for us. We put Chicago under a lot of pressure. Our quality of play was very good for the first game of the season."
The NC Courage started the match dominating possession and creating countless opportunities. Chicago goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, and the Chicago Red Stars back line had their hands full as the Courage amassed four corners in the first fourteen minutes of play.
Despite the NC Courage controlling possession, the Chicago Red Stars found the back of the net first in the 26th minute. Yuki Nagasato played a ball through the Courage defense that found the feet of 2018 NWSL Golden Boot winner, Sam Kerr. The Australian international sped forward and cut around Courage goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé before scoring.
Lynn Williams nearly found the equalizer in the 42nd minute when her curling right footed shot looked to be finding its way to the right corner. Naeher had to make a diving save on the fast-paced ball.
After a back and forth start to the second half, the breakthrough came in the 66th minute for the Courage. Jessica McDonald found the feet of Dunn on a throw-in. Dunn took a few touches before sending a low hard shot into the left corner of the net. Dunn is no stranger to scoring goals, as she had eight in 2018.
Up Next: The North Carolina Courage will play the Orlando Pride on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed SoccerPark. The two teams met in the preseason where the Courage won, 4-0. The Orlando Pride open their 2019 season tomorrow against the Portland Thorns.
Nine of the starting eleven for the NC Courage started in the 2018 NWSL Championship against the Portland Thorns.
Rookie forward Leah Pruitt made her professional debut entering the game as a substitute in the 71st minute.
Jessica McDonald recorded her first assist of the season. She had eight in 2018.
Crystal Dunn scored her first goal of 2019. Last season she scored eight.
The NC Courage are undefeated in 15 matches dating back to June of 2018 and including Women's International Champions Cup and NWSL playoffs.
NCC (4-4-2 Box): Stephanie Labbé; Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg ©, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt Mathias; McCall Zerboni (Leah Pruitt, 71'), Denise O'Sullivan, Samantha Mewis, Crystal Dunn; Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald (Kristen Hamilton,71')
Subs not used: Sam Leshnak, Kaleigh Kurtz, Cari Roccaro, Meredith Speck, Julia Spetsmark
CHI (4-3-3): Alyssa Naeher; Tierna Davidson, Katie Naughton, Sarah Gorden, Arin Wright (Michele Vasconcelos, 80'); Julie Ertz ©, Nikki Stanton, Danielle Colaprico; Alyssa Mautz (Vanessa DiBernardo, 86'), Yuki Nagasato (Morgan Brian, 73), Sam Kerr
Subs not used: Emily Boyd, Maria Sanchez, Brooke Elby, Katie Johnson
NCC: Crystal Dunn (Jessica McDonald, 66')
CHI: Sam Kerr (Yuki Nagasato, 26')
CHI: Michele Vasconcelos 89'
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from April 13, 2019
- Sky Blue FC Fall in Season Opener to the Washington Spirit - Sky Blue FC
- NC Courage Earn Draw with Crystal Dunn Second Half Goal in Home Opener - North Carolina Courage
- Chicago Draws in North Carolina to Open the Season - Chicago Red Stars
- Houston Dash Sign Six Players for 2019 NWSL Season - Houston Dash
- Reign FC Sign Forward Bethany Balcer - Reign FC
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