NC Courage suffer first loss after going player down
Posted May 15
Orlando, Fla. — The North Carolina Courage fell for the first time this season to the Orlando Pride in a 3-1 fixture at Orlando City Stadium Sunday. The team showed determination to earn a positive result despite playing the last third of the match down a player. The loss notwithstanding, the NC Courage remains in first place with a towering 12 points heading in to Week 6 of the 2017 NWSL Season.
Defense was the name of the game in the opening minutes of tonight's match. Both sides struggled to connect offensively as both the Courage and Pride backlines broke down any attempts from the opposing side.
The NC Courage started to connect in the 17th minute when Makenzy Doniak forced Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to make a daring save. Two NC Courage players looked to capitalize on Doniak's dangerous cross in the box, but Harris beat them to it.
Orlando found opportunities in the first half as well. Their most threatening moment came in the 42nd minute when Steph Catley put the ball across the face of the goal for Marta, but the service was just out of the Brazilian's reach. Minutes later, Sam Witteman looked for the first goal of the match as she took an unexpected shot just inside the box, forcing Harris to come off her line and swat the ball away.
The start of the second half was packed with action as three goals were scored within three minutes. First, Chioma Ubogagu got on the end of an Ali Krieger cross to put the home team up 1-0. Orlando scored their second goal of the game immediately after their first when Camila found the back of the net in the 51st minute as a result of a one-v-one situation with NC Courage goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo.
The NC Courage wasted no time responding to Orlando's quick second-half start. In the 52nd minute, Lynn Williams connected with Debinha at the top of the box, and the Brazilian fired her shot by Harris to close the gap to 2-1.
In the 57th minute the team would suffer another setback when captain Abby Erceg earned a second caution and was sent off, leaving the NC Courage down a player as they continued to fight back, looking for the elusive tying goal.
However, the Courage couldn't hold on to find the equalizer, and Marta sparked the Pride's third and final goal of the game. In the 83rd minute, Marta found Jasmyne Spencer's feet who put the ball by D'Angelo to lock in a final score of 3-1.
The NC Courage remain atop the NWSL standings as they go on to host the Chicago Red Stars at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday, May 21.
Debinha’s goal was her second of the season. She had previously scored the first ever home goal for the NC Courage on April 22 against the Portland Thorns.
This was the first assist of 2017 for Lynn Williams. The 2016 NWSL MVP recorded five total assists last season.
Meredith Speck made her first appearance of 2017, coming on as a substitute in the 82nd minute.
Despite the loss, the NC Courage remain firmly in control of first place in the standings
The NC Courage returns home on Sunday, May 21, to host the Chicago Red Stars at 4:00 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, followed by a mid-week match at home against Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, May 24.
ORL: Ashlyn Harris ©; Ali Krieger, Stephanie Catley, Toni Pressley; Alanna Kennedy, Camila, Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt (Maddy Evans, 66’); Chioma Ubogagu (Jasmyne Spencer, 63’), Jamia Fields (Christina Burkenroad, 82’), Marta
NCC: Sabrina D’Angelo; Abby Dahlkemper, Abby Erceg, Yuri Kawamura; Makenzy Doniak (Meredith Speck, 82’) Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni, Sam Witteman (Taylor Smith, 56’); Debinha, Jessica McDonald (Ashley Hatch, 68’), Lynn Williams
ORL: Chioma Ubogagu (Ali Krieger, 49’), Camila (Jamia Fields, 50’), Jasmyne Spencer (Marta, 82’)
NCC: Debinha (Lynn Williams, 51’)
ORL: Ali Krieger 87’, Toni Pressley 90’
NCC: McCall Zerboni 10’; Abby Erceg 43’, 57’
NCC: Abby Erceg 57’