The North Carolina Courage remain unbeaten after a 2-0 shutout victory against the winless Houston Dash in the Lifetime Game of the Week in Houston. Crystal Dunn scored her third goal of the season early in the first-half while Kristen Hamilton added an insurance goal in the second half.
Dunn puts Courage up early for good
Dunn, who returned to the NWSL this year after a stint in the FAWSL with Chelsea, opened up scoring in the third minute netting her third goal in the past four games. Courage forward Jess McDonald sent a long throw-in to the box where, after a gratuitous bounce, landed at the feet of Dunn who sent it past a diving Dash keeper Jane Campbell.
McDonald almost doubled the lead in the 15th minute when she forced Campbell to make one of her five saves of the match. North Carolina defender Abby Dahlkemper sent a corner kick to the head of McDonald who almost sent it in, but Campbell was able to get fingertips to the ball and put it over the bar.
The Dash almost equalized in the 26th minute after a Houston corner kick bounced around in the box before Dash defender Amber Brooks headed the ball to the net forcing Sabrina D’Angelo to make a save. Nichelle Prince almost followed up the rebound with a goal, but D’Angelo was able to smother it for good, keeping the Dash off the board.
North Carolina came out of the half similar to the first with another goal three minutes in. After a clearance out of the box by the Dash, the ball landed just outside the 18-yard line for Hamilton who netted her first goal of the season to put away the Dash for good.
Welcome sites for both teams
While the result for the Dash wasn’t what they wanted, the team did see a couple of welcome sights during the match. Forward Kealia Ohai made first start of the season and second appearance after returning to action last week after recovering from an ACL tear. While Ohai was intended to only play 45 minutes, she put in 61 minutes and created several chances for the team.
The Dash also welcomed newly acquired Australian-international Kyah Simon. Simon’s rights were picked up by the Dash after the Boston Breakers dispersal draft and officially signed with the team but was away on international-duty since the beginning of the season with Australia during their world cup qualifiers. Simon ended up playing the full 90 minutes.
Courage also subbed in Sam Mewis for the second match in a row after the midfielder missed the past few months with a lingering knee injury. Mewis will look to return to the starting line-up next week.
Houston will travel to New Jersey to take on Sky Blue FC next Saturday May 5 with kick-off at 7:00 p.m. ET on go90. North Carolina will return home to host the Chicago Red Stars Sunday May 6 with kick-off at 3:00 p.m. ET also on go90.