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North Carolina Courage Host Houston Dash Tuesday on ESPNEWS

September 16, 2019 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - North Carolina Courage News Release

Cary, N.C. - Having scored 12 goals in its last two matches, the in-form North Carolina Courage will be going for its fourth consecutive victory when it hosts the Houston Dash on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET in a nationally broadcast match aired on ESPNEWS.

With a win, the first-place Courage (12W-4L-4D, 40 points) can clinch a spot in the NWSL Playoffs for a third consecutive year. Tuesday's match is the fourth of five games in a two-week span for head coach Paul Riley's team, which has handled a series of quick turnarounds brilliantly. Just 72 hours after thrashing the Portland Thorns 6-0 last Wednesday, the NC Courage returned home and won 6-1 against the Orlando Pride on Saturday as the team celebrated Heather O'Reilly's excellent career, a victory that included a goal by O'Reilly.

Tuesday's match will be the third and final between the Dash and Courage this season. On April 28, the NC Courage earned a 4-1 win in Houston that saw rookie Leah Pruitt score her first professional goal. On July 5, the Courage won 5-2 at home thanks to forward Kristen Hamilton's four-goal performance. Since 2017, the Courage are undefeated (6W-0L-1D) against Houston.

In seventh place, Houston (7W-9L-4D, 25 points) is still mathematically alive in the postseason hunt following a home win against Utah Royals FC last Friday. Behind a brace from midfielder Sofia Huerta, the Dash grabbed a 2-1 win at BBVA Stadium.

After Saturday's win against Orlando, the Courage lead the NWSL with 46 goals, seven more than the next closest team (Portland Thorns, 39). Houston, meanwhile, enters Tuesday's match having given up the second-most goals (32) in the league in 2019. Of the NC Courage's 46 tallies, 38 have been assisted. Forward Lynn Williams scored four goals in the past two matches, which has brought her total on the season to 11, the second-most in the NWSL. Not far behind is Hamilton, whose nine goals are tied for the third-most in the league.

Houston, which has scored 20 times in 2019, has been paced by Huerta and forward Rachel Daly, who have accounted for half of the team's goals with five tallies apiece.

Last Time Out

Playing in front of a regular-season record crowd of 9,563, the Courage put on a show by scoring six goals for a second straight game. Coming off a hat trick, Lynn Williams opened up the scoring in just the sixth minute. The Courage doubled their advantage in the 37th minute on an own goal by Orlando's Kristen Edmonds before taking a 3-0 lead into halftime thanks to Jessica McDonald's 41st-minute goal, which was set up by left back Jaelene Hinkle.

Second-half substitute McKenzie Meehan scored her first NWSL goal with a close-range finish in the 78th minute before Orlando got on the board via a Rachel Hill goal in the 82nd minute. But the highlight of the game came when O'Reilly found the back of the net on her big night with a beautiful strike in the 85th minute. For good measure, O'Reilly assisted on the Courage's sixth goal in the 92nd minute, which was scored by Debinha.

Players to Watch

North Carolina Courage - #23 Kristen Hamilton

Hamilton is having the best season of her career, as she ranks third in the NWSL with nine goals and also has five assists. The result of her hard work and quality play, Hamilton recently earned her first appearance with the U.S. National Team, making her debut in a 3-0 win against Portugal on Sept. 3. The last time Hamilton faced Houston, she went for four goals, tying the NWSL single-game record.

Houston Dash- #3 Rachel Daly

Despite playing in only 13 matches this season due to international duty, Daly is tied for the team-lead with five goals. The England international is dangerous up top and scored in the April 28 match against the Courage.

Looking Ahead

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.


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