North Carolina puts Chicago Red Stars on blast with 4-1 victory

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ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 30: North Carolina Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper (13) keeps the ball inbounds during the NWSL soccer match between the Orlando Pride and the North Carolina Courage on June 30th, 2018 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CARY, NORTH CAROLINA (July 4, 2018) – Whether it be on the road or at home, every NWSL team should never take the North Carolina Courage lightly.

The Chicago Red Stars are the latest team to fall victim to North Carolina’s strikers, defense, and goalkeeper. North Carolina put Chicago on blast, sealing a 4-1 victory at WakeMed Soccer Park.

North Carolina puts Chicago Red Stars on blast with 4-1 victory

Meanwhile, North Carolina is only one point away from 40 points.

The club leads the NWSL and seems to be in a lock for the Suppoter’s Shield. However, there is still plenty of season left for other clubs. But, it doesn’t help that the second place team behind North Carolina sits with 23 points.

That’s 16 points behind North Carolina.

The Courage extended their lead with the Fourth of July victory. Despite Yuki Nagasato scoring her third goal in three-straight matches, North Carolina wrapped up victory early.

Nagasato’s lone goal for Chicago came in second-half stoppage time. However, it was far too late for Chicago to even come close to a draw.

Crystal Dunn put the Courage on the board in the 20th minute. Jessica McDonald assisted Dunn’s first-half goal. Then, in the second half, Lynn Williams and Debinha blasted shots past Alyssa Naeher.

Merritt Mathias and Samantha Mewis picked up assists, respectively. Meanwhile, Kristen Hamilton put the Chicago Red Stars to bed with a fourth and final goal in the 87th minutes. Williams assisted Hamilton’s goal.

After the match, Courage Head Coach Paul Riley said he was “delighted” with the victory.

“It’s nice to score some goals at home, too,” Riley said. “We haven’t scored a ton of goals at home, and we created some great chances second half.”

“The quality of football was good.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Welcome home, HAO: It’s been 12 years since Heather O’Reilly has played soccer in North Carolina. The former North Carolina Tar Heel from 2003-2006, O’Reilly made her return to The Tar Heel State on Wednesday. She entered into the match, making her Coruage debut, in the 75th minute, relieving Debinha of her duties. O’Reilly spent two seasons in London with Arsenal Ladies.
  2. Can Chicago keep a playoff spot: Alyssa Naeher has never been consistent in goal for the Chicago Red Stars. That could prove costly for the club, who currently sit in fourth place, the last spot for a playoff team. Right now, the Utah Royals FC are only one point behind Chicago. However, with the recent additions of Christen Press and Samantha Johnson, they’re not a team to mess with.
  3. Dunn deserves Player of the Month: Crystal Dunn is the June Player of the Month. The accolade is well deserved, as Dunn has compiled two goals in six matches. The move from Chelsea Ladies to North Carolina has done wonders for the striker.

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