North Carolina Courage Punches Playoff Ticket With Win Over Sky Blue FC

North Carolina Courage Punches Playoff Ticket
ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 14: North Carolina Courage forward Lynn Williams (9) shoots on goal during the NWSL soccer Championship match between the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns on October 14th, 2017 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL.(Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PISCATAWAY, NEW JERSEY (July 14, 2018) — After Samantha Kerr scored a hat-trick against Sky Blue FC, Lynn Williams wanted a shot.

Instead, she had 13 shots – with seven registering on goal. Williams led the North Carolina Courage to a 4-0 victory over Sky Blue FC.

North Carolina Courage Punches Playoff Ticket With Win Over Sky Blue FC

Williams scored all three of her goals in the second half of action, sending them right past Kailen Sheridan. The struggles continue for Sky Blue, who are looking for the club’s first NWSL regular-season win. However, the Courage have a different wave of momentum.

With the victory, the Courage officially punched their playoff ticket.

North Carolina has led the NWSL at the top of the table the entire season. Right now, North Carolina sits in first-place with 45 points.

With North Carolina officially clinching a spot in the postseason, the rest of the league’s eight teams are scrambling for the final three spots. Currently, the Seattle Reign, Orlando Pride and Chicago Red Stars sit in second through fourth place.

Kicking off the scoring for North Carolina on Saturday was defender Abby Erceg. The New Zealand international netted her second goal of the season in the 15th minute. Kristen Hamilton assisted the goal.

For Williams’ three goals, Hamilton and Debinha picked up assists.

After the match, Sky Blue FC Head Coach Denise Reddy said that Sky Blue “moved the ball well in the first half.”

“But, we were in a position where we had to be much more attack-oriented in the second half,” Reddy said. “It was a bit risky to send numbers forward like we did in the second half, especially when North Carolina is such a good team in transition. However, it was worth taking the chance because we have to show a willingness to go for it in those types of situations.”

Sheridan had a busy night in goal for the home team, making nine saves to prevent Williams from scoring further. Sheridan also made saves against Hamilton, Debinha, Crystal Dunn and Heather O’Reilly. On the other end, Katelyn Rowland made five saves to stop Thasia, Imani Dorsey, Carli Lloyd, Shea Groom and Savannah McCaskill.

Three Takeaways

  1. Fear the Courage: It’s hard to say if any team in the NWSL will go on to beat North Carolina. While the Courage’s undefeated season ended against the Utah Royals, if you paired the two teams up again, it’d be hard to bet against North Carolina. With the star-power that Paul Riley possesses on this team, don’t be shocked to see them lift the trophy.
  2. Williams’ big night: For a while, it seemed like Lynn Williams was getting lost in the crowd. With Crystal Dunn netting seven goals this season, Williams needed a boost. She got that with a big hat-trick game against Sky Blue FC.
  3. Is it Reddy’s time to go? Right now, it seems like Sky Blue FC is aware of their fate. The club won’t be heading to the 2018 NWSL playoffs. It’s unlikely that Denise Reddy will remain in her position next season, but will she even last the rest of the way this year? With the team already out of playoff contention, it seems like Sky Blue is just letting this season run its course.

Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.