Courage get win No. 17, complete record-setting regular season
The Courage set the records for most wins, most points, most goals scored, fewest goals allowed
The Courage are 17-1-6 after a 5-0 win over the Houston Dash to finish off the regular season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/
The Courage are 17-1-6 after a 5-0 win over the Houston Dash to finish off the regular season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/

The Courage closed out the 2018 NWSL regular season in record-breaking fashion, dominating the Houston Dash 5-0 for their 17th win of the season. They improved to 17-1-6 (57 points) with the win, which came in front of a home crowd of 9,505 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. Next up, a semifinal meeting with the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday in North Carolina.

The Courage broke a number of NWSL records with the win over the Dash on Saturday night:

Most wins: 17

Most points: 57

Fewest losses: 1

Most goals scored: 53

Fewest goals allowed: 17

Lowest goals against average: .71

Largest goal differential: +36

The Courage wasted no time getting to work on setting the records. Jessica McDonald opened the scoring in the 13th minute, taking a pass from Abby Erceg, cutting around Dash defender Amber Brooks and then flicking it past goalkeeper Jane Campbell with the outside of her right foot.

Crystal Dunn doubled the lead in the 25th minute. The right post denied Lynn Williams’ shot, and then the left post denied Dunn’s shot off the rebound, but Dunn got one more chance and knocked it in for her eighth goal of the season, and first since July 4. Dunn’s goal tied the NWSL team record of 50 in a season.

The Courage kept pressing, and broke the record in the 44th minute on an assist from her strike partner, McDonald.

The second half went the way of the first, with the Courage scoring in the 57th minute to make it 4-0. Debinha found McDonald out wide with a spinning, backheel pass. McDonald crossed into the box and Williams slid to finish it off with her left foot. Williams finished the season with 14 goals and 5 assists, second-best in the NWSL.

McDonald’s two assists moved her into first place in the league with eight on the year, to go along with her seven goals.

Kristen Hamilton subbed on in the 67th minute and made it 5-0 in the 70th minute with her third goal of the season. Her score was the 53rd and final goal of the regular season for the Courage.

The Courage took the field without midfielder McCall Zerboni, who will miss the rest of the season with a left elbow fracture suffered on Tuesday night while with the U.S. women’s national team.

The 5-0 win is the 11th clean sheet of the season for the Courage, just one shy of tying their own record of 12 set last season. Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland made four saves in the match for her seventh clean sheet of the year. Erceg and Rowland each made key plays defensively to keep the shutout going. In the ninth minute, Erceg made a sliding tackle in the box to shut down an attack from Sofia Huerta.

And then in the 74th minute, Rowland pushed a floating shot from Nichelle Prince over the crossbar.

The Courage final regular season record is 17-1-6, with the only loss coming at home to Utah Royals FC on June 16 thanks to Brittany Ratcliffe‘s late stunner. They finished the season on an 11-game unbeaten streak, going 8-0-3 since the loss to Utah.

The loss dropped the Dash to 9-10-5 with 32 points, but the nine wins and 32 points are franchise bests.

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