McCall Zerboni leads North Carolina Courage to 2-0 win vs. Seattle Reign FC
Ashley Hatch scored her fourth goal in give games to put the Courage back on top of the standings
McCall Zerboni celebrates her second half goal vs. Seattle Reign FC with her teammates. (Photo credit: Andy Mead for
McCall Zerboni celebrates her second half goal vs. Seattle Reign FC with her teammates. (Photo credit: Andy Mead for

After a lengthy delay thanks to the weather, the North Carolina Courage didn’t let the late hour get to them too much as they defeated Seattle Reign FC 2-0 on Saturday night. The Courage bounced back from a sluggish loss at home to Sky Blue FC last week, and held the league-leading offense of Seattle to only 12 shots, and only four on goal. The Courage, on the other hand, had 30 shots with six on target.

Courage forward Ashley Hatch scored her fourth goal in five games to take the lead in the first half. After Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni intercepted a Reign throw-in, she made her way into the box through some traffic and sent the ball across looking for another teammate in blue. While Seattle defender Lauren Barnes got a touch on it, she only left it for Hatch to bury in the corner past goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer.

That tally would stand as the teams entered the locker room for half time — despite one last chance for Megan Rapinoe and the Seattle Reign in the 45th minute. While Rapinoe did excellent work to run down Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland and strip her of the ball outside the box, she was betrayed by her own attempt on the open goal as it went wide.

Zerboni was the key player in the second half, having already played a crucial role in Ashley Hatch’s 33rd minute tally. After a few attempts on goal, she finally got hers in the 81st minute. With Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper once again providing quality service on the corner kicks, substitute Jessica McDonald rose above a sea of volt yellow for the initial header on target. Zerboni finished the rebound for her third goal of the season.

Zerboni did more than just set up the game winner and score the insurance tally. She was everywhere for North Carolina, as she led the Courage in touches (67) and duels (14), of which she won 85.7 percent. She also had three key passes, and an overall passing accuracy of 80 percent on her 40 passes. She led a couple of defensive stats as well, with six tackles and 13 gained possessions.

According to Opta, Zerboni has been one of the most disruptive defensive players so far in the 2017 NWSL season. Through 11 weeks of games, she averaged 5.6 tackles per game, winning 4.0. Both numbers lead the league for players with at least 10 appearances this season. She also has the highest duels won per game average in the league, at 8.6.

The Courage have moved back into the top spot of the NWSL table. Moving to 9-4-0 for the season and three points clear of the Chicago Red Stars once again. They’ll travel to Providence Park for the Lifetime Game of the Week next Saturday to face off against the Portland Thorns. The Reign head back to the West Coast as well, where they will host the Boston Breakers next Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

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