On Saturday afternoon at Yurcak Field, the visiting North Carolina Courage overcame Sky Blue FC in a tight 2-1 match. The first half of the match was very hard to watch as a Courage fan. The team struggled to string two passes together as they plodded slowly up and down the pitch. It was a woeful performance that could have seen the team trailing if it weren’t for a stunning own goal to open the game.
And the award for the most anticlimactic goal of the year goes to...
An own goal has the visitors in front early.— NWSL (@NWSL) September 7, 2019
0-1 | #NJvNC pic.twitter.com/pFtlbpVkYP
It took just two minutes for the Courage to get on the board thanks to a Sky Blue FC own goal, but then we returned the favor.
While chasing down rookie Paige Monaghan, Abby Dahlkemper decided to give her a hug in the North Carolina penalty box and conceded a penalty kick. This was an extremely dumb foul because Monaghan wasn’t getting back to the ball, but sometimes bad things happen. Carli Lloyd stepped up and finished the penalty to even the game at one apiece.
.@CarliLloyd, cool as you like from the spot. All tied in New Jersey.— NWSL (@NWSL) September 7, 2019
1-1 | #NJvNC pic.twitter.com/SUILO6CQSy
Then the rest of the first half happened. Lloyd nearly scored a second goal when Abby Erceg inexplicably fell down in the middle of the field, but her shot hit the bottom of the cross bar and bounced away. For the rest of the half nothing good happened. The Courage went into the locker room at halftime with zero (0) shots on goal. They were out-shot 8-5 by Sky Blue FC in the first half. It was definitely a forgettable 45 minutes.
Then Debinha came on and the second half was a blast. We thoroughly controlled the game, had a few near-goals that were either blocked or mishit, and finally the ball would hit the back of the net once again.
Kristen Hamilton, who had a pretty quite game, took the ball to the end line, cut it back, and found Dunn sitting right at the penalty spot. Given that there were nearly 20 players in the box at that moment, it’s amazing that Dunn had acres of space around her to pause, have a cup of tea, and pick out her spot to score. She beat SBFC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan with a shot to the left side of goal and that was the game.
.@khamilton17 made things happen and @crysdunn_19 puts it away!#NCvNJ 1-2 pic.twitter.com/WKUrQyVJFU— NC Courage (@TheNCCourage) September 7, 2019
And that was the game. The Courage nearly scored a few more times, but Sky Blue was pretty well beaten at that point.
The Courage will now have a chance to take their rightful place at the top of the National Women’s Soccer League standings on Wednesday night as they travel to Portland to take on the Thorns. It should be a hack of a match.