Cary, NC- Tonight, the North Carolina Courage welcomed the Houston Dash to WakeMed Soccer Park where 4,702 fans gathered for the first time where these two teams met on the field.
The Courage immediately began to put pressure on the Dash and within the third minute forward Jessica McDonald crossed the ball to forward Lynn Williams as a test, but the Dash were quick to clear the ball out.
However, North Carolina was on the move and several minutes later midfielder Sam Mewis crossed a high ball to Williams, but Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell took a risk as she came out of the box to minimize their opportunity.
In the 26th minute, McDonald made one of her signature throw-ins, which made contact with Courage defender Abby Erceg who got it to forward Kristen Hamilton. Hamilton took a shot on goal that made its way past Campbell for the Courage to take a 1-0 lead early on in the match.
Another goal was almost made in the 32nd minute when McDonald scored, but was called offside.
During the second half of the match, the Courage were looking to see another goal while the Dash were fighting hard to make a comeback. Hamilton took a shot that was just over the crossbar, but the score was still 1-0.
Both teams were missing key players due to a buildup of yellow cards. The Courage lost midfielder McCall Zerboni while the dash lost Bruna Benites.
The Courage come out of this game with 15 wins and are one game away of tying the record set by Seattle Reign FC in 2014. As a result of this victory, the North Carolina Courage will see the home playoff game as they extend their first place standing with 45 points. This means they secure the home field advantage for the NWSL 2017 playoffs and will also host a semifinal game on Sunday, October 8 at WakeMed Soccer Park.
NC-Kristen Hamilton 26’
NC-Abby Dahlkemper, yellow card min. 63’
HOU-Cari Roccaro, yellow card min. 64’
HOU-Janine Van Wyk, yellow card min. 97’
NC COURAGE: #9-Lynn Williams, #8-Denise O’Sullivan (#22-Stephanie Ochs, 88’), #14-Jessica McDonald (#3-Makenzy Doniak, 68’), #23-Kristen Hamilton, #5-Samantha Mewis, #12-Ashley Hatch (#10-Debinha De Oliveria, 78’), #15-Jalene Hinkle, #6-Abby Erceg, #13-Abby Dahlkemper, #11-Taylor Smith, #0-Katelyn Rowland
Subs not used: #1-Sabrina D’Angelo, #25-Meredith Speck, #26-Sam Witteman, #4-Elizabeth Eddy
HOUSTON DASH: #3-Rachel Daly (#11-Meghan Cox, 90+’), #9-Sarah Hagen (#16-JanineBeckie, 68’), #14-Nichelle Prince, #19-Kristie Mewis (#23-Cami Privett, 84’), #17-Andressinha Cavalari Machry, #5-Cari Roccaro, #22-Camille Levin, #2-Poliana Barbosa Mederios, #55-Janine Van Wyk, #12-Amber Brooks, #1-Jane Campbell
Subs not used: #27-Caity Heap, #8-Claire Falknor, #30-Bianca Henniger
TOTAL SHOTS: NC 22-8 HOU
SHOTS ON GOAL: NC 6-2 HOU
FOULS: NC 8-11 HOU
OFFSIDES: NC 4-6
CORNER KICKS: NC 6-5 HOU
SAVES: NC 2-5