The North Carolina Courage celebrate their NWSL championship victory. (Photo courtesy of isiphotos.com.)
CARY, N.C. (Oct. 27, 2019) — The North Carolina Courage are back-to-back NWSL champions after their 4-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday.
The strong defensive line that North Carolina is known for was more than enough to shut down Chicago’s dynamic duo of Yuki Nagasato and league MVP Sam Kerr.
The match got off to an exciting start with North Carolina’s Debinha, championship MVP, putting it past Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher at the four-minute mark, gaining momentum for the Courage.
After four more attempted shots by the Courage, Kerr, who is the 2019 Golden Boot winner, had Chicago’s first attempt in the 20th minute that was saved by Courage goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe in the bottom left corner. North Carolina responded with a header goal by Jessica McDonald to the bottom right corner of Chicago’s net.
Dunn cemented Courage’s lead in during the extra time in the first half with a right-footed shot to the centre of the goal.
Back-and-forth action started the second half, finished by North Carolina’s Samantha Mewis who, following a long ball into the eighteen-yard box from Abby Dahlkemper, scored a header from the centre of the box to the top right corner at 61’.
After a series of yellow cards handed to both teams, the Red Stars had a strong final push, however were not able to strike one in and the Courage won 4-0.
This was the third time Chicago and North Carolina have met in NWSL playoffs, with North Carolina taking the previous two matches as well. Though the Red Stars fell short again, they managed a fairly equal possession throughout the match, with the slight edge to Carolina with 50.4 per cent. Total shots on goal were North Carolina 11, and Chicago with two.
This was quite the year for the Courage as they won their second title, and won their third consecutive NWSL Shield with a record of 15-5-4. They have the most Shield titles in the league.
A sellout crowd of 10,227 packed Sahlen’s Stadium to watch this exciting championship.