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Match Recap: North Carolina Courage Falls 1-0 to Sky Blue FC, Remains on Top of the NWSL Standings

Jul 1, 2017

CARY, N.C. (July 1, 2017) – On a steamy Saturday afternoon at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, the North Carolina Courage fell 1-0 to Sky Blue FC. Despite the loss, the NC Courage remains on top of the NWSL table with 24 points.
 
“I think we lost in big moments of the game, like with [Makenzy] Doniak three minutes into the game with the open net and obviously the penalty kick was a huge moment in the game at nil-nil,” said head coach Paul Riley. “But in all fairness I thought [Sky Blue] played really well, on the back of their third game in seven days you have to give them credit. They worked their socks off and made it really difficult for us. We were just a little bit off and in this league if you’re a little bit off you can’t win games. I think if one of our chances in the first 10 minutes had gone in we would have gone on to win the game but it didn’t happen. We weren’t at our best today no questions, with injuries we’re missing quite a few, but no excuses they were the better team today. Hats off to them, I thought they came in with a good gameplay and did very well.”
 
The two teams battled to a scoreless first half, and traded early chances. In the fourth minute, Ashley Hatch fed Makenzy Doniak who dribbled past the keeper. However, defender Christie Pearce stepped in to provide the goal-line clearance.
 
On the other side of the field, Sky Blue produced several scoring opportunities in the early minutes. Daphne Corboz had the closest chance, clipping the outside of the post in the 14th minute, while Madison Tiernan forced a quality save from Kate Rowland in the 18th minute, but the visitors couldn’t find the right combination in the final third.
 
The teams played out the rest of the half without another shot on goal and entered halftime tied at 0-0.
 
Following the break, Ashley Hatch created an immediate chance, forcing a save in the 48th minute. The Courage earned a penalty kick in the 54th minute, but Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan stopped Sam Mewis’ attempt with a diving save to keep the match scoreless.
 
Needing an offensive spark, Riley subbed in Jessica McDonald in the 70th minute. The veteran attacker made an immediate impact and earned a corner kick in the 73rd minute. On the ensuing corner, McDonald just missed the target with a header.
 
With the Courage pressing forward, Sky Blue FC took advantage of a turnover and scored a goal in the 83rd minute. The visitors struck off a quick buildup after Samantha Kerr was open on the back post and scored from close range off an assist from Maya Hayes.
 
Down a goal, the Courage searched for the equalizer. McDonald nearly pulled North Carolina level on two different occasions, but whistles for an offside call and a foul prevented the goals.
 
Sky Blue held on through the five minutes of extra time and clinched its sixth win of the season to move to third place in the NWSL.
 
Notes:

  • Meredith Speck earned her first start of 2017, after previously appearing in two games a s a substitute.
  • Jessica McDonald played her first match in three games, coming on as a substitute in the 70th minute.
  • The NC Courage continues its home stand on Saturday, July 8, as it hosts the Seattle Reign at 7:30 p.m. at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.

 
Box Score
 
Lineups
NCC: Katelyn Rowland; Abby Erceg (C), Taylor Smith, Abby Dahlkemper, Meredith Speck; Makenzy Doniak (Jessica McDonald, 70’), Sam Mewis, McCall Zerboni, Debinha; Ashley Hatch, Kristen Hamilton (Sam Witteman, 33’, Elizabeth Eddy, 83’)
 
Subs not used: Sabrina D'Angelo, Steph Ochs,
 
NJ: Kailen Sheridan; Christie Rampone (C), Erica Skroski (Leah Galton, 78’), Kelley O'Hara, Erin Simon (Miranda Freeman, 25’); Sarah Killion, Raquel Rodriguez (Nicole Stanton, 63’), Daphne Corboz; Maya Hayes, Madison Tiernan, Samantha Kerr
 
Subs not used:
Caroline Casey, Mckenzie Meehan, Taylor Lytle, Domi Richardson,
 
 
Score:
NCC: 0
NJ: 1
 
Goals:
NCC:
NJ: Samantha Kerr (Maya Hayes, 84’)
 
Cautions:
NCC: Sam Witteman, 80’
NJ: Erica Skroski, 68’
 
Ejections:
NCC:
NJ:
 
Attendance: 3,056
 

 
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