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NC Courage Look to Clinch NWSL Shield in Game against Utah Royals FC

September 19, 2019 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage News Release

Cary, NC - Coming off clinching a spot in the NWSL Playoffs, the North Carolina Courage will face Utah Royals FC on Saturday, September 21 at 9 p.m. ET. Paul Riley's team could clinch the NWSL Shield for the third consecutive season with a win in the match.

The Courage are undefeated in their last five games, outscoring their opponents 16 goals to two. The team had two consecutive six-goal games, something no team in the NWSL has done before.

Most recently, the NC Courage defeated the Houston Dash 1-0 at home to stay undefeated at Sahlen's Stadium this season. Sam Mewis scored the game-winning goal off of a penalty kick in the 87th minute. Crystal Dunn was fouled in the box to earn the opportunity from the penalty spot. The goal was Mewis' first of 2019 for the Courage.

Utah Royals FC's match against Reign FC scheduled for Wednesday, September 18 was postponed due to weather and field conditions, so their most recent game was also against the Houston Dash. Sofia Huerta scored two goals in the match before Utah's Gunnhildur Jonsdottir answered in the 75th minute. Ultimately, Utah Royals FC was unable to even the score in the closing minutes of the game to fall 2-1 to the Dash.

Lynn Williams continues to lead the Courage in goals scored, sitting in second place for goals scored in the NWSL with 11. Kristen Hamilton is not far behind with nine. The Courage currently control the assists leaderboard for the NWSL. Debinha and Jaelene Hinkle each have six assists, tied for second place. Williams, Hamilton, and Merritt Mathias hold the third-place spot with five each.

Up Next:

The NC Courage travel to play the Washington Spirit for the third and final time of the season on Saturday, September 28 at 7 p.m.

Players to Watch:

North Carolina Courage- #17 Heather O'Reilly

The World Champion and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist has been earning increasing minutes in recent matches and could be called on to play a large role with recent injuries. O'Reilly scored her first goal and added on her first assist of the season on September 14 against Orlando.

Utah Royals FC- #8 Amy Rodriguez

Rodriguez has played in 20 games this season for 1,732 minutes. She has taken 54 shots and scored eight goals. She will look to use her speed to get past the Courage backline and take some shots on goal.

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