The North Carolina Courage knew that a win against Reign FC would not only strengthen their playoff chances but also bring their confidence back again after suffering two defeats in their last two games. Lynn Williams provided the telling moment of the match in the 82nd minute, bringing her season tally to seven now.
Williams needs to build on tonight’s goal
During the World Cup, Lynn Williams was expected to explode and essentially bully the league while the rest of the national team players were away. She did not and was one of the reasons why the Courage were so inconsistent during that time period. Williams has always needed quite a few attempts to find the back of the net but this season has seen that problem exacerbated. Although she now has seven goals, her overall performances have left a lot to be desired but tonight was a return to the Williams of old.
Her goal game in the 82nd minute after a fine flowing move involving Jessica McDonald and Crystal Dunn as well gave Williams the chance to knock the ball home unmarked inside the penalty area. Williams needs to continue to not only put herself in those positions more often but also fine tune her finishing as the Courage look to not only secure their playoff spot but also make a run for another NWSL Championship. If Williams can find her previous seasons’ form, the Courage could be set to be the team to beat once again in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Casey Murphy’s performance keeps the Courage from scoring more
Throughout the game, the Courage were on the front feet and had 26 shots on goal compared to the Reign’s nine overall. The only reason the scoreline was only one-nil instead of more was the performance of the visiting goalkeeper, Casey Murphy. The Courage continue to create chance after chance but cannot seem to find the target on a more consistent basis. Tonight, of the seven shots on target, only one beat Murphy, and that was because not only was Murphy in outstanding form but the North Carolina attack are missing a clinical edge to their finishing right now.
Thankfully tonight, Lynn Williams put one away otherwise it would have been another 90+ minutes of frustration for head coach Paul Riley. The Courage are wonderful to watch going forward on most occasions, with Williams, MacDonald, Dunn and Debinha all hitting top form now but what’s holding them back from dominating the league is their inability to finish. As the playoff race reaches its peak, the Courage will need to address that if they want to get themselves another NWSL Championship.