The NC Courage are on pace to having a historic season in NWSL. So far this year, the team has lost one game and are sitting on 39 points out of 16 games played. That’s a torrid 2.4 points per match and will have the team an obvious favorite for winning the NWSL Championship in 2018.
What’s more, the team is now settling in, finding its rhythm, and scoring goals in bunches. After developing somewhat of a reputation of being wasteful in front of goal, the Courage now have scored 11 goals in their last three games. Those games haven’t been against poor teams either, the team is scoring on strong sides that should be in the hunt for the playoffs this season.
After the team beat the Chicago Red Stars 4-1, coach Paul Riley spoke to Aaron Bellamy and discussed what has been going right for the team and why the goal explosion has finally taken off.
A major reason that Riley singled out, was the play of Crystal Dunn. The coach noted that the versatile player has been so effective because “the amount of chances she creates just for herself, as well as other people, I mean, it’s gotta be four-five big chances every game from what she creates individually.” Dunn, who was awarded for her efforts with the NWSL Player of the Month award for June, is in a three way tie for the golden boot race with seven goals and has added another four assists this year.
The team also has found a way to score goals in bunches. In Orlando the Courage scored three goals in three minutes and on Wednesday night, North Carolina managed two goals in two minutes. Describing the team and how they play, both in attack, but also with their press, Riley said, “the only word for us is relentless.” Many teams find it easy to switch off after scoring and get into trouble with the opposition getting chances to pull goals back, that hasn’t been a feature for the Courage this year. The team’s coach noted that, “once we get on top of teams, teams find it hard to get their momentum back. We seem to be able to wrestle momentum from them and just keep it.”
Of course, this also influences the mentality of their adversaries. With North Carolina now able to pour on goals, Riley added that for opposing teams, “in the back of their mind, they’re probably thinking, ‘well they got one, now what happens?’” With the relentlessness of the team and skill of Crystal Dunn, it’s easy to see why teams have something to be worried about.
North Carolina will be back at home on Wednesday July 11th taking on the Washington Spirit in pursuit of their next win in what has been a very successful 2018 season.