North Carolina Courage NC

17‑1‑6 , 9‑1‑2 Home

2
Final
Tue, Sep 18

Chicago Red StarsCHI

9‑5‑10 , 4‑2‑6 Away

0

Providence Park

Portland, Oregon

Attendance: 4,646

Courage return to the NWSL Championship

Jess McDonald scored early, Sam Mewis scored late for the win

The North Carolina Courage beat the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 on Tuesday night. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

Portland, Oregon — In front of a mostly unfriendly crowd of 4,646 at Providence Park, the North Carolina Courage defeated the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the NWSL Championship. This is the second consecutive year the Courage have defeated the Red Stars in the semifinals. On Saturday, the Courage will once again face the Thorns in the NWSL Championship — again a rematch of last year, only this time the two sides will meet on the Thorns’ home turf of Providence Park.

The Courage — the NWSL Shield winners after finishing the regular season at 17-1-6 — found the back of the net in the first five minutes and the final five minutes of the game. Courage forward Jess McDonald opened the scoring for the Courage and Sam Mewis sealed the game up in the 86th minute with an upper-90 blast from a distance.

The Red Stars, who entered the postseason as the fourth seed, came into this match at 8-2-3 in their last 13 games with their only losses coming to the Courage in July and then Utah Royals FC in the final regular season game. While the Red Stars’ 2018 campaign ended on the night, Rory Dames’ squad put on a performance that kept the Shield winners on their toes.

“They had momentum for most of the first half it was one of those situations where we just couldn’t figure it out,” McDonald, who scored her eighth goal of the year, said after the game. “So we dropped in, we calmed down a little bit and then we started to create our own chances. It was a very great challenge for us because it just shows how talented of a team Chicago is and we couldn’t ask for a better team to play in the semifinal.”

Just five minutes into the game, Courage forward Crystal Dunn saw an opening in Chicago’s backline and slipped in McDonald. McDonald was put in a one-v-one situation against Red Stars defender Julie Ertz and with confidence beat her and slotted a right-footed shot into the left post for the early 1-0 lead.

“She’s been with me for five years and she always comes when you need her,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said postgame. “She was the pick of the forwards tonight.”

McDonald’s goal, on a typical night for the Courage, would have set the tone for several more shots and offensive chances to come shortly after, but the plot shifted on Tuesday night and the Red Stars took control.

Even before McDonald’s goal went in, Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato had a one-time blast that hit the crossbar. Then in the eighth minute, Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr almost equalized for her side, but her shot hit off the post.

“Kerr, she was such a headache,” Riley said after the game. “And Nagasato, when Nagasato gets in the game, Kerr gets in the game. They caused us a lot of problems.”

Kerr came into the semifinal with 16 goals on the year — good for the Golden Boot for the second straight season. Her 16 goals, along with four assists, came in only 19 games after she missed the first five games due to international duty.

Courage defender and captain Abby Erceg, who has been a key component of the Courage’s record-breaking defensive season (fewest goals allowed) was asked after the game what it’s like to defend Kerr.

“It sucks,” Erceg said laughing.“No, she’s very good. She’s so good. You can watch footage of her all day, but she’s so dynamic in the way that she plays and she’s not predictable which makes it really hard to mark her.”

Kerr and Nagasato have been the dynamic duo for the Red Stars all season with Nagasato chipping in four goals and seven assists this season, and all seven of her assists have been to Kerr. The two continued to dictate the game throughout the remainder of the first half with the Courage disheveled in the midfield and caught chasing. The Courage were without MVP finalist midfielder McCall Zerboni, who broke her elbow in the first minute of the U.S. national team’s win over Chile on September 4. The Courage midfield, specifically Mewis and Denise O’Sullivan, were dealt the task of handling Nagasato and a technical Chicago offense, without the blocking and stopping of Zerboni.

“If I can try and emulate her and I think I was being really vocal at the end, which is something that I think she would’ve done,” Mewis said of Zerboni after the game. “I think that I’m learning and I’m just trying to grow and use what I’ve learned from her all year, because I think that’s what the team needs.”

Before the half, the Red Stars continued to press. In the 32nd minute, it looked like they were going to get the equalizer after some nice one-two work in the middle between Kerr and Nagasato set up a promising chance for Kerr to see the ball back at the top of the box. Kerr attempted to strike it one time but she didn’t hit it through cleanly and it went just wide of the right post

Kerr finished the match with two shots and created one chance and Nagasato had one shot. After the game, Kerr was asked about her time with the Red Stars and if she will be back next season.

“I mean if I stay injury free, I’ll definitely be with the Chicago Red Stars,” Kerr said postgame. “I think a lot of people have kind of whispered that I’m going to Europe and they kind of know more than me, but you know I wouldn’t really change what I’m doing at the moment going into a World Cup year.”

The Red Stars, even with Kerr now, have yet to make it to the NWSL Championship even after making the semifinals for four straight seasons. This year, head coach Rory Dames said this loss feels different.

“I thought we were really good tonight. I thought we opened up a really good team especially in the first half. It’s not often that they pull back their pressure and sit a little lower, but we forced them to do that because we were able to break their lines.”

After halftime, the Courage shifted their game plan and sat back. The Red Stars forced the Courage, who set records for wins (17), points (57), most goals scored (53) and fewest goals allowed (17) and became the best team in American women’s professional soccer history (per their points per game average of 2.375) to sit in.

“We adapted the pressure a little bit, we were getting picked a apart in the first half, “Riley said. “Morgan Brian was getting on the ball, [Danielle] Colaprico, [Vanessa] DiBernardo they were hurting us bad, Nagasato was getting in between lines she caused us a lot of problems a lot tonight, then we just backed off a little bit.”

Once the Courage adjusted their strategy, the game opened up for them and they were able to find Dunn more, Debinha and Lynn Williams in pockets in the final third.

In the 86th minute, Mewis scored her fourth goal of the season and did so in absolute style, scoring a rocket from the right side of the pitch into the upper-90.

“It was so funny someone asked me out there [about the goal] and I forgot who had passed it to me and now I know it was Crystal [Dunn],” Mewis said after the game. “I just [knew] that I wanted to shoot it and I think I heard a couple of people telling me to and it came at a good time.”

The Courage will return to Providence Park on Sunday, September 22 to face the Thorns on their home pitch at 4:30 p.m. ET. In the NWSL, no Shield winner has ever won the title. Will this be the year the Courage break the curse?

North Carolina Courage

1

Sabrina D’Angelo

Goalkeeper
15

Jaelene Hinkle

Defender
6

Abby Erceg

Defender
13

Abby Dahlkemper

Defender
11

Merritt Mathias

Defender
  72'   89'
10

Debinha

Midfielder
  87'
8

Denise O'Sullivan

Midfielder
5

Samantha Mewis

Midfielder
  86'
19

Crystal Dunn

Midfielder
9

Lynn Williams

Striker
14

Jessica McDonald

Striker
  5'

substitutes

23

Kristen Hamilton

Substitute
  87'
21

Darian Jenkins

Substitute
31

Kaleigh Kurtz

Substitute
17

Heather O'Reilly

Substitute
  89'
16

Cari Roccaro

Substitute
1000

Katelyn Rowland

Substitute
25

Meredith Speck

Substitute

manager

 

Paul Riley

Manager

Chicago Red Stars

1

Alyssa Naeher

Goalkeeper
3

Arin Gilliland

Defender
8

Julie Ertz

Defender
5

Kathleen Naughton

Defender
6

Casey Short

Defender
10

Vanessa DiBernardo

Midfielder
  87'
13

Morgan Brian

Midfielder
24

Danielle Colaprico

Midfielder
4

Alyssa Mautz

Midfielder
  81'
20

Sam Kerr

Striker
12

Yuki Nagasato

Striker

substitutes

21

Emily Boyd

Substitute
23

Brooke Elby

Substitute
14

Sarah Gorden

Substitute
19

Summer Green

Substitute
2

Nikki Stanton

Substitute
15

Michele Vasconcelos

Substitute
  81'
22

Rosie White

Substitute
  87'

manager

 

Rory Dames

Manager

END 14

Match ends, North Carolina Courage 2, Chicago Red Stars 0.

90'+5'

END 2

Second Half ends, North Carolina Courage 2, Chicago Red Stars 0.

90'+4'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Arin Gilliland.

90'+1'

CORNER

Corner, Chicago Red Stars. Conceded by Heather O'Reilly.

90'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Casey Short.

89'

SUBSTITUTION

Substitution, North Carolina Courage. Heather O'Reilly replaces Merritt Mathias.

88'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner.

87'

SUBSTITUTION

Substitution, Chicago Red Stars. Rosie White replaces Vanessa Di Bernardo.

87'

SUBSTITUTION

Substitution, North Carolina Courage. Kristen Hamilton replaces Debinha.

86'

GOAL

Goal! North Carolina Courage 2, Chicago Red Stars 0. Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Crystal Dunn.

81'

SUBSTITUTION

Substitution, Chicago Red Stars. Michele Vasconcelos replaces Alyssa Mautz.

80'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Debinha (North Carolina Courage) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Denise O'Sullivan.

80'

MISS

Attempt missed. Debinha (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lynn Williams with a cross.

78'

FREE KICK WON

Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

78'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage).

77'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Danielle Colaprico.

76'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Yuki Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars).

76'

FREE KICK WON

Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

75'

END DELAY

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

73'

START DELAY

Delay in match Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars) because of an injury.

73'

MISS

Attempt missed. Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Danielle Colaprico with a cross following a set piece situation.

72'

YELLOW CARD

Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

72'

FREE KICK WON

Samantha Kerr (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick on the left wing.

72'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage).

71'

MISS

Attempt missed. Debinha (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

70'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars).

70'

FREE KICK WON

Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage) wins a free kick on the right wing.

68'

OFFSIDE

Offside, Chicago Red Stars. Julie Ertz tries a through ball, but Yuki Nagasato is caught offside.

65'

FREE KICK WON

Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

65'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage).

62'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars).

62'

FREE KICK WON

Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61'

FREE KICK WON

Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage).

58'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars).

58'

FREE KICK WON

Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Merritt Mathias.

55'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Crystal Dunn.

55'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Arin Gilliland.

53'

FREE KICK WON

Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage).

51'

OFFSIDE

Offside, North Carolina Courage. Crystal Dunn tries a through ball, but Debinha is caught offside.

50'

OFFSIDE

Offside, North Carolina Courage. Denise O'Sullivan tries a through ball, but Crystal Dunn is caught offside.

48'

FREE KICK WON

Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage).

47'

MISS

Attempt missed. Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

46'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Samantha Kerr.

START

Second Half begins North Carolina Courage 1, Chicago Red Stars 0.

45'+2'

END 1

First Half ends, North Carolina Courage 1, Chicago Red Stars 0.

42'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Yuki Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Alyssa Mautz.

37'

CORNER

Corner, Chicago Red Stars. Conceded by Jaelene Hinkle.

36'

OFFSIDE

Offside, North Carolina Courage. Debinha tries a through ball, but Lynn Williams is caught offside.

34'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

33'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Alyssa Naeher.

33'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Debinha (North Carolina Courage) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

32'

MISS

Attempt missed. Samantha Kerr (Chicago Red Stars) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Casey Short with a cross.

29'

OFFSIDE

Offside, North Carolina Courage. Merritt Mathias tries a through ball, but Jessica McDonald is caught offside.

26'

FREE KICK WON

Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage).

25'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Debinha with a cross.

25'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Morgan Brian.

24'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Julie Ertz.

23'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars).

23'

FREE KICK WON

Jaelene Hinkle (North Carolina Courage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22'

MISS

Attempt missed. Debinha (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left from a direct free kick.

21'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars).

21'

FREE KICK WON

Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

18'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Casey Short with a cross.

17'

CORNER

Corner, Chicago Red Stars. Conceded by Abby Erceg.

15'

CORNER

Corner, Chicago Red Stars. Conceded by Abby Erceg.

15'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

14'

FREE KICK WON

Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14'

FREE KICK LOST

Foul by Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage).

13'

CORNER

Corner, North Carolina Courage. Conceded by Julie Ertz.

13'

ATTEMPT BLOCKED

Attempt blocked. Debinha (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

11'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

9'

POST

Samantha Kerr (Chicago Red Stars) hits the left post with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Morgan Brian.

7'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jessica McDonald.

5'

GOAL

Goal! North Carolina Courage 1, Chicago Red Stars 0. Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Crystal Dunn.

4'

OFFSIDE

Offside, North Carolina Courage. Denise O'Sullivan tries a through ball, but Debinha is caught offside.

3'

ATTEMPT SAVED

Attempt saved. Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Arin Gilliland.

3'

POST

Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the centre of the box.

START

First Half begins.

 

LINEUP

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

NC
KO HT FT 90+
81
Vasconcelos 15
Mautz 4
87
Hamilton 23
Debinha 10
87
White 22
DiBernardo 10
89
O'Reilly 17
Mathias 11
5
goal

Jessica McDonald 14

Assisted by: Crystal Dunn 19

86
goal

Samantha Mewis 5

Assisted by: Crystal Dunn 19

72
yellow card

Merritt Mathias 11

CHI

Goals & Assists

5′ North Carolina Courage
Jessica McDonald
Assisted by: Crystal Dunn
86′ North Carolina Courage
Samantha Mewis
Assisted by: Crystal Dunn

Disciplinary

72′ North Carolina Courage
Merritt Mathias

Substitutions

81′ Chicago Red Stars
  Michele Vasconcelos
  Alyssa Mautz
87′ North Carolina Courage
  Kristen Hamilton
  Debinha
87′ Chicago Red Stars
  Rosie White
  Vanessa DiBernardo
89′ North Carolina Courage
  Heather O'Reilly
  Merritt Mathias


NC

Match Statistics


CHI

15
Shots
11
8
Shots On Goal
4
4
Shots Blocked
2
7
Corners
4
28
Crosses
24
5
Offsides
1
8
Fouls
6
1
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
373
Total Passes
458
69.4%
Passing Accuracy
76.2%
45.2%
Possession
54.8%
49
Duels Won
43
12
Tackles Won
12
4
Saves
5
23
Clearances
36

Player Statistics

  • #
  • p
  • player
  • MINS
  • G
  • A
  • S
  • SOG
  • CK
  • OFF
  • FC
  • FS
15 D Jaelene Hinkle 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
6 D Abby Erceg 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
13 D Abby Dahlkemper 90 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
11 D Merritt Mathias 89 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
10 M Debinha 87 0 0 6 2 3 2 0 0
8 M Denise O'Sullivan 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
5 M Samantha Mewis 90 1 0 2 2 0 0 1 1
19 M Crystal Dunn 90 0 2 3 1 1 1 2 1
9 F Lynn Williams 90 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0
14 F Jessica McDonald 90 1 0 2 2 0 1 1 1
23 S Kristen Hamilton 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
21 S Darian Jenkins 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 S Kaleigh Kurtz 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
17 S Heather O'Reilly 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 S Cari Roccaro 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1000 S Katelyn Rowland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
25 S Meredith Speck 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Goalkeepers

  • #
  • p
  • player
  • MINS
  • GA
  • SF
  • SV
  • PF
  • PS
  • FC
  • FS
1 G Sabrina D’Angelo 90 0 11 4 0 0 0 0
3 D Arin Gilliland 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
8 D Julie Ertz 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
5 D Kathleen Naughton 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 D Casey Short 90 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0
10 M Vanessa DiBernardo 87 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4
13 M Morgan Brian 90 0 0 3 1 0 0 1 0
24 M Danielle Colaprico 90 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
4 M Alyssa Mautz 81 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 1
20 F Sam Kerr 90 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1
12 F Yuki Nagasato 90 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 0
21 S Emily Boyd 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
23 S Brooke Elby 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 S Sarah Gorden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
19 S Summer Green 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 S Nikki Stanton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 S Michele Vasconcelos 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
22 S Rosie White 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

Goalkeepers

  • #
  • p
  • player
  • MINS
  • GA
  • SF
  • SV
  • PF
  • PS
  • FC
  • FS
1 G Alyssa Naeher 90 2 15 5 0 0 0 0

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