ORLANDO, FLORIDA (June 30, 2018) — It’s hard to bet against the North Carolina Courage.
The club has held first place in the NWSL since the start of the season. After a long undefeated streak, North Carolina fell victim to the Utah Royals. However, the high-flying team bounced right back and has been undefeated — again — since.
North Carolina Courage Blanks Orlando Pride, 3-0
North Carolina’s latest victim was the Orlando Pride.
At Orlando City Stadium, the Pride conceded three goals to the Courage. North Carolina’s three goals all came within four minutes.
Debinha got the ball rolling — into the back of Ashlyn Harris’ net in the 37th minute. The Brazilian midfielder lined the shot up front the center of the box. Two minutes later, Merritt Mathias scored her third goal of the season for North Carolina.
Mathias totaled three goals in two seasons with the Seattle Reign. She is already tied with that number in just one season with the Courage.
Hardly a minute later, Jessica McDonald did her best Coutinho impression. McDonald sent her shot from the center of the box into the top right corner of the goal post. Crystal Dunn assisted the goal.
“They were quicker to do things, they were dynamic, they were alert, they did soccer fundamental things better than we did,” Sermanni said. “The thing about this league — apart from North Carolina, who are running away with it — there’s five or six teams right in the mix there.”
“We need to ensure that we get back on an even keel, on a winning run, and put this game behind us.”
— NWSL (@NWSL) June 30, 2018
- The ever-rotating second place spot: One week it’s the Seattle Reign, the other it’s the Orlando Pride. Each week, it seems that the second place spot on the NWSL table switches. Orlando has been bumped down one spot with the loss, as Seattle’s key victory over the Portland Thorns bumps the club to second place. Either way, if the season ended today, Orlando would be in the playoffs.
- What’s going on with Harris? How would Orlando fare in the playoffs if the season ended today? Right now, the team is sitting on a two-game losing streak, first losing to the Houston Dash. Harris’ four saves weren’t enough for Orlando to scoop up any points.
- All that with no Samantha Mewis: Mewis was listed as questionable going into the match with right knee pain. In the end, Courage head coach Paul Riley decided to rest Mewis. Instead, the Courage midfield consisted of McCall Zerboni, Crystal Dunn, Debinha and Denise O’Sullivan.
NC COURAGE squad: ton of travel over the last month but stellar effort the entire way. Had to dig deep yesterday but immensely proud of the performance. As we always say:Don't let winning make u soft. Don't let losing make u quit. Don't let your teammates down ever #nofinishline
— Paul Riley (@prileyfury4life) July 1, 2018