McCall Zerboni and the North Carolina Courage host Kristie Mewis and the Washington Spirit on Saturday — and the Courage will certainly hope for a repeat of their first ever NWSL match. Back on April 15, Zerboni scored the only goal of the game to spur the Courage on to their first win as a NWSL side, and they’ve only kept up their winning ways since then. North Carolina is at the top of the table with 36 points and a 12-5-0 record, while Washington is hoping to move out of last place with 16 points and a 4-9-4 record.
The Spirit will certainly have a challenge on their hands, as the Courage are 7-2-0 at home, and are currently enjoying a three-game winning streak. Washington is 1-6-2 on the road this year, with their only victory away from the SoccerPlex coming at the expense of Sky Blue FC earlier this month.
The Courage kicked off their 2017 campaign against the Spirit in what is now typical fashion: outshooting Washington 22-3, playing stifling defense, earning more corner kicks at 14 to 7, and winning a tough game despite not holding the edge in possession. That blueprint is a big part of their 36 points, even if now they will also need to defend Washington Spirit rookie forward Mal Pugh.
Pugh, with three goals in her nine games so far this season, could be just the spark that the Spirit need on the road to upset the frontrunners for the NWSL Shield. Washington will also need another stellar performance from goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé to help keep up with all of the Courage’s offensive weapons. In Week One, she made eight saves against the Courage, including this one against Courage forward Jessica McDonald.
The Courage earned two road wins and have plenty of momentum heading back home to Cary for this Saturday’s game. Midfielder Sam Mewis also picked up Player of the Week honors for her two goals in the two victories during Week 16, and she’ll face off against older sister Kristie for the second time this season on Saturday.
Fans can also get ready for the Game of the Week on Lifetime as Kristie Mewis takes over the NWSL Instagram Story on Friday:
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 17, 2017
Coverage starts on Lifetime at 3:30 p.m. ET, with kick off scheduled for 3:50 p.m. ET.