The final whistle blows with a final score Washington Spirit 2, North Carolina Courage 4. This has been Aaron Bellamy bringing you live coverage from the match. Have a great night!
We will have four minutes of added time.
84' Johnson is shown the yellow card for a tackle.
84' Courage Substitution: Hamilton out, Speck in
78' Chapman bumps a dangerous cross out of play, and the ensuing corner kick nearly finds its way into the back of the net before being cleared.
76' Williams takes a rocket of a shot that hits a defender and is deflected off the crossbar by Bledsoe.
75' Spirit Substitution: Pugh out, Huster in
74' Play is stopped while Pugh is worked on.
72' Hinkle's ball through the box goes by everyone, but is cleared out for a corner.
71' Courage Substitution: Mathias out, Chapman in
66' Spirit and Courage Substitutions: Eubanks off, Dougherty-Howard in; McDonald out, Jenkins in
Washington 2 - 4 North Carolina
66' Courage GOOOAALLLLL! Lynn Williams takes a low shot to the left side of the goal. It is just out of the reach of Bledsoe.
65' The Spirit put together a great counterattack, but the ball finds the outside of the side netting.
62' Handball against the Spirit near midfield.
59' Another Spirit corner after the ball is headed out, but it ends up going for a goal kick.
Washington 2 - 3 North Carolina
58' Spirit GOALLLL!!!! Dahlkemper tackles the ball out for a Spirit corner. The ball bounces around and Solaun gets the assist with a goal by Ordega!
55' Spirit earn a free kick in a dangerous spot.
54' Spirit Substitution : Havana Solaun in, Lohman out
Washington 1 - 3 North Carolina
48' Courage GOOOAAALLLLLLL!!!! The Courage send a corner in to Hamilton, who passes the ball into the middle where Zerboni is waiting to finish.
48' Williams sends a cross through the box past the keeper, but there is nobody home to finish.
46' The Courage have two great chances to start the half. Williams pings one off the post and Hamilton's shot gets deflected and is easily saved by Bledsoe.
46' The game is back underway with the Spirit in control.
A few halftime stats while you're waiting for play to resume. The Courage are outshooting the Spirit seven to two with five shots on goal to just one for the home team. The Spirit hold a slight 54-46% possession advantage.
The halftime whistle sounds, with the score at the half Spirit 1, Courage 2
45+2' D'Angelo collects a floating ball that is nearing the goal, but never presents a real danger.
45+1' A weak header towards goal is collected by Bledsoe.
45' The Courage earn a corner kick.
There will be two minutes of stoppage time.
41' Pugh fouls O'Sullivan
39' Williams crosses the ball into the box but it was cleared away.
36' Mathias stays down after a hard challenge with Hatch. She is off briefly after a knock to the head.
33' Williams takes a shot from the top of the box, but it is a bit weak and Bledsoe makes a diving save.
32' Dydasco bullies Williams off the ball at the end line and wins a goal kick.
29' A weak back pass by Mathias leaves Ordega with the ball against D'Angelo, but she can't keep control of the ball in bounds.
27' McDonald finds herself one-on-one with Bledsoe, but she kicks it wide of the net.
Washington 1 - 2 North Carolina
24' Courage GOALLLL!!!!! A strange play, where the Courage received a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Zerboni took the shot and placed it into the left side netting.
Washington 1 - 1 North Carolina
20' Courage GOALLL!!!! Both teams slowed down on a Courage attack after there may have been a handball in the box by the Spirit defender. In the confusion, the ball finds the feet of Crystal Dunn who beats Bledsoe.
17' Bledsoe tips the ball over the bar off a shot from Dunn.
16' Franny Ordega takes a shot that defelcts of a Courage defender, but D'Angelo makes the save.
15' McDonald heads the ball out of Bledsoe's hands, but after the ball bounces around it comes right back to her and she falls on it.
11' McDonald shoots right at Bledsoe, who makes the easy save.
10' Ordega is fouled by Williams.
8' The Dahlkemper takes a corner kick for the Courage, but it is headed out by the Spirit.
7' Pugh fouls Zerboni.
Washington 1 - 0 North Carolina
3' Spirit GOALLLL!!!! Mallory Pugh collects a poor clear by the Courage defense at the top of the box and places the ball in the top-right corner of the net.
0' The Courage start with the ball and we're underway!
The two teams are about to get set on the field. The wind is blowing pretty briskly here at the stadium, so that might affect some of the long passes attmepted by the Courage.
The players are starting to head out to the field, so we have about 8 minutes left until kickoff.
The players are off to change for the game, so this is a good time to go over the players away on international duty. For the Spirit, Estefania Banini and Yanara Aedo are playing in the semfinals of the 2018 Copa America Feminina for Argentina and Chile respectively. For the Courage, Debinha is playing in the same tournament for Brazil. The top two teams from that tournament will automatically earn a 2019 Women's World Cup berth, and the third-place match will face off against the fourth-place team in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament that will take place in October.
North Carolina Courage Starting XI: D'Angelo; Erceg, Mathias, Dahlkemper, Hinkle; Zerboni, O'Sullivan, Hamilton; Williams, McDonald, Dunn
Washington Spirit Starting XI: Bledsoe; Dydasco, Church, Smith, Johnson; Sullivan, Pugh, Lohman; Ordega, Eubanks, Hatch
The starting lineups are out! Welcome back to the VAVEL USA LIVE for the match between the Washington Spirit and the North Carolina Courage! I'm bringing you live coverage from Maureen Hicks Field at the Maryland Soccerplex!
Be sure to come back as new information will be added as it becomes available, and join me for live game updates from the stadium in Boyds, Maryland!
One of the biggest storylines of the match will be the play of Ashley Hatch and Taylor Smith, both of whom were traded from the Courage to the Spirit during the offseason. In return, the Courage acquired United States Women's National Team forward Crystal Dunn who spent the previous season playing in England with Chelsea FC rather than playing for the Spirit. Other than the acquisition of Dunn, the Courage are nearly the same team as they were in 2017. The Spirit, on the other hand, will likely be starting just four players from their final 2017 match against the Courage. Defenders Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco, and midfielder Mallory Pugh will be the only remaining starters from 2017.
The Washington Spirit and the North Carolina Courage faced off three times during the 2017 season. The Courage swept those three matches with scores of 1-0, 2-0, and 3-2, with the first and third of those matches being played at Maureen Hicks Field at the Maryland Soccerplex. The Spirit are a vastly different team this season, but they have struggled to some degree with their chemistry after adding so many new pieces. The Courage will hope to get midfielder Sam Mewis back onto the field for the first time this season. The Spirit also hosted the Courage for a preseason match in Richmond, VA on March 17, 2018, where the Courage won 3-0. In the first meeting on the opening weekend of the 2017 season, McCall Zerboni scored the first goal in Courage history in the 1-0 victory.
The Courage are hoping to extend their winning streak to three games after winning their two opening matches of the season against the Portland Thorns FC and Sky Blue FC. Both matches ended with late goals for North Carolina sealing 1-0 victories. The Courage defense has been phenomenal thus far, allowing just one shot on goal in their two matches played. The offense has been equally impressive, generating 30 shots in two matches, but with just one goal scored in each game, the conversion rate has to improve. The Courage recently added two new players to the team; defender Cari Roccaro formerly of the Houston Dash and midfielder Sarah Teegarden, to fill out the roster while Debinha is away with the Brazilian Women's National Team. The Courage will attempt to be just the second team to win on the road in 2018. The Courage were the only team in the NWSL last season to have a winning record on the road.
The Spirit are entering the match on the high note after winning their home opener against the Orlando Pride two weeks ago. The 2-0 victory was the first shutout for new starting goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe as a member of the Spirit. Leading the way on offense, Mallory Pugh scored her first goal of the 2018 NWSL to open the scoring for the Spirit, and Ashley Hatch scored the second goal for Washington just a few minutes later. Hatch and Pugh were the first and second leading goal scorers in 2017 respectively, with Hatch winning Rookie of the Year honors. The star forwards will need to work hard against the Courage defense that has not allowed a goal yet this season.
The Courage are at the top of the league standings after two weeks with a record of 2-0-0. The Spirit are mired in the middle of the pack with a record of 1-0-1. They lost to the Seattle Reign FC in Seattle on opening weekend before returning home and winning their home opener.
Welcome to live coverage of the National Women's Soccer League's Week Three match between the Washington Spirit and the North Carolina Courage in Boyds, Maryland at the Maryland Soccerplex. My name is Aaron Bellamy and I am excited to bring you minute-by-minute coverage of the match here on VAVEL USA. From now until the game kicks off on Saturday, April 14th at 7:00 pm ET, news and notes about the game will be posted here to keep you up to date, and make sure to come back at kick off for LIVE updates!