NC Courage Downs Seattle Reign 2-0, Stays on Top of NWSL Table

Jul 8, 2017

CARY, N.C. (July 8, 2017) – After severe weather in the area delayed the start of the match by 135 minutes, the North Carolina Courage rolled past third-place Seattle Reign 2-0 on Saturday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. With the win, the NC Courage extends its grip on the top spot in the NWSL to 13-consecutive weeks.
In a battle between two of the top offenses in the NWSL, the NC Courage dominated the attacking half with goals from Ashley Hatch and McCall Zerboni. The Courage also had a strong effort in the defensive half to shutout the NWSL’s leading attack for its seventh shutout of the season.

"I think from our game plan point of view, it went really well," said Head Coach Paul Riley. "I think they were really good at it. There were some great individual performances, but the team performance was excellent. The work rate and the press was great tonight. It was a bit cooler tonight, and it was easier to get the press in tight. We closed them down quickly. We really didn’t give them a lot - even in the second half. It was a good professional performance." 
The Courage came out firing and produced 17 first-half shots. Lynn Williams, who missed the last three matches due to injury, picked up where she left off and helped lead a dangerous Courage attack that threatened the Seattle goal for most of the night.
North Carolina found its first breakthrough in the 31st minute when Hatch pounced on a loose ball in the box and scored her fourth goal of the season to give the Courage a 1-0 lead. Zerboni helped create the play after her cross was redirected to Hatch off Seattle defender Lauren Barnes.
In the 45th minute, Megan Rapinoe created a chance against the run of play and stole the ball from Courage goalkeeper Kate Rowland. Despite the open goal, Rapinoe’s shot from 23 yards away narrowly skimmed past the post and the Courage maintained its 1-0 lead into the half.
Following the break, Zerboni continued the Courage’s search for goals. The midfielder produced chances in the 59th and 60th minutes, but both shots narrowly missed the target.
Zerboni found her goal in the 81st minute to give North Carolina a 2-0 lead. Jessica McDonald created the initial chance and headed a shot towards the goal. Rapinoe cleared the shot off the line and Zerboni redirected the clearance into the net for her third goal of the season.
With a commanding two-goal lead, the Courage held on for the final nine minutes to clinch the victory.
Coming Up Next:
The North Carolina Courage will travel to Providence Park on Saturday, July 15 to take on the Portland Thorns FC for the first of a two-game road trip. The Courage return home to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer park on Saturday, August 5 at 7:30 p.m. to take on the Seattle Reign FC. Tickets are available at or by calling the box office at 919.459.8144.

  • Lynn Williams returned to the starting lineup for the first time since June 3 and played 66 minutes. Williams missed the previous three matches due to injury.
  • Ashley Hatch scored her fourth goal to become the team’s leading scorer this season. Hatch has scored four goals in five starts.
  • McCall Zerboni added her third goal of the season with a tally in the 81st minute.
  • Kate Rowland earned her fourth shutout, bringing the Courage to seven total shutouts this year.

Box Score
NCC: Kate Rowland; Abby Erceg © , Taylor Smith (Stephanie Ochs, 79’), Abby Dahlkemper, Jaelene Hinkle; Makenzy Doniak, Sam Mewis, McCall Zerboni, Debinha; Lynn Williams (Jess McDonald, 66’), Ashley Hatch
Subs not used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Elizabeth Eddy, Meredith Speck, Sam Witteman
NJ: Haley Kopmeyer; Lauren Barnes © , Merritt Mathias, Rebekah Stott, Carson Pickett, Kristen McNabb; Christine Nairn (Bev Yanez, 78’), Lindsay Elston, Rumi Utsugi; Megan Rapinoe, Nahomi Kawasumi (Kiersten Dallstream, 69’)
Subs not used: Elli Reed, Michaela Hahn, Maddie Schiffel, Maddie Bauer, Katie Johnson
NCC: 2
SEA: 0
NCC: Ashley Hatch (unassisted, 33’), McCall Zerboni (unassisted, 81’)
SEA: ---
NCC: Ashley Hatch, 75’
SEA: Kristen McNabb, 71’
NCC: ---
SEA: ---
Attendance: 3,565



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