From Staff Reports
CARY, N.C. – The NC Courage are headed to the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Championship final following a 1-0 semifinal victory over the Chicago Red Stars at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday.
In front of a sold out record crowd of 10,017, the Courage netted the deciding goal when Denise O’Sullivan finished it all off in the 90th minute.
North Carolina will play the Portland Thorns in the NWSL Championship match on Saturday at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
“The second half was a really good performance for us,” head coach Paul Riley said.
“In the first half, we looked a little bit nervous. We were coughing the ball up and giving balls away, and it wasn’t really like us. McCall [Zerboni] and Sam [Mewis] got themselves together at halftime and I think they changed the game around.
“We’ve lost to them three times this year so it was nice to win one against them. Chicago is a very good side. I’m just proud of the troops.”
North Carolina outplayed Chicago for much the match, outshooting the Red Stars 19-6, and worked hard to earn the opportunity to finish in the final minute when O’Sullivan found the back of the net.
Mewis started the deciding play after sending a corner kick into the box.
Jess McDonald got a head on the cross and played the ball back towards a wide-open O’Sullivan who converted the chance from the top of the box.
Notes: The victory was the NC Courage’s first win over Chicago in four attempts this season…The match was the first professional women’s soccer playoff match in North Carolina since the Carolina Courage defeated the Atlanta Beat 3-2 on Aug. 17, 2002 during a WUSA semifinal…The match featured nine United States Women’s National Team members, including Sam Mewis, Taylor Smith, Abby Dahlkemper, Lynn Williams, Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Christen Press, Casey Short and Sofia Huerta. In addition to a large representation from the USWNT, Denise O’Sullivan (Ireland), Debinha (Brazil), Sabrina D’Angelo (Canada) and Yuki Nagasato (Japan) were all included on the rosters.
2017 NWSL Championship
Sat., Oct. 14 – 4:30 p.m.
Orlando City Stadium – Orlando, Fla.
NC Courage vs. Portland Thorns
Live broadcast: Lifetime
NC Courage: Katelyn Rowland; Abby Erceg (C), Taylor Smith, Abby Dahlkemper, Jae Hinkle; Sam Lewis, McCall Zerboni, Denise P’Sullivan; Lynn Williams, Debhina (Kristen Hamilton 10’), Ashley Hatch (Jess McDonald 83’) – Subs not used: Makenzy Doniak, Meredith Speck, Samantha Witteman, Nora Holstad Berge, Sabrina D’Angelo
Chicago Red Stars: Alyssa Naeher; Casey Short, Sam Johnson (Steph McCaffrey 90’), Katie Naughton, Erin Gilliand; Julie Ertz, Danny Colaprico (Alyssa Mautz 90’), Sofia Huerta, Vanessa Dibernardo; Jen Hoy (Yuki Nagasato 57’), Christen Press (C) – Subs not used: Sarah Gorden, Michele Dalton, Summer Green, Taylor Comeau
Score: NCC: 1; CRS: 0
Goals: NCC: Denise O’Sullivan (Jessica McDonald, 90’);CRS: —
Cautions: NCC: –; CRS: Dannielle Colaprico 36’
Ejections: NCC: –;CRS: —