The North Carolina Courage won their 11th game of the season on Thursday night, topping FC Kansas City 1-0 in front of a crowd of 1,398 at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Kansas City, Missouri.
The game was originally supposed to take place on July 22, but thunderstorms postponed the match and it was rescheduled for Thursday night.
Courage forward Lynn Williams scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute on a play that started with a strong run from Taylor Smith. The Courage defender dribbled down the right flank and into the box. She sent a cross in to McDonald, making a run down the center of the field, but FC Kansas City defender Becky Sauerbrunn was able to to get to it first as both players fell to the ground. The deflection off Sauerbrunn fell right to Williams, who smashed a right-footed shot to the near post, off FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart’s hand and into the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season.
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 11, 2017
The win gives the Courage a bit of breathing room at the top of the table heading into this weekend’s action as they improved to 11-5-0 with 33 points, four points clear of the second place Red Stars. They will next face the Reign in Seattle at Memorial Stadium on Sunday night.
The Courage struggled all night to get shots on frame, despite finishing the evening with 28 total shots. In the first half, they had just one shot on goal. They finished the game with five shots on goal total thanks to a late push in the second half, including the game-winning goal. Jessica McDonald, who entered as a substitute in the 69th minute, nearly put the Courage up 1-0 in the 74th minute when Barnhart came well off her line, but McDonald’s shot went just wide.
North Carolina’s stingy defense once again allowed just two shots on goal in the match and six shots overall. Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland was called upon to make just two saves, earning her sixth clean sheet. She has conceded just three goals in eight games this season. It’s the ninth overall shutout for the Courage as they have held the opposition scoreless in all but two of their 11 wins. Both the shots on goal came in the first half as FC Kansas City had a few nice early efforts, but then could not overtake North Carolina once the second half began.
— NC Courage (@TheNCCourage) August 11, 2017
With the loss, FC Kansas City falls to 3-8-5 (14 points) and their winless streak extends to nine games. They will next visit the Houston Dash on Sunday night.