Yuri Kawamura started for the North Carolina Courage after recovering from a torn ACL. Elizabeth Eddy also started for the first time after returning from injury. The Courage currently has an 11 game unbeaten streak, but was missing 6 of their National Team players. The Houston Dash, on the other hand, was missing star player Kristie Mewis who suffered a knee injury last week in a game against the Washington Spirit.
Player of the Month Injured before International Duty?
Rachel Daly took a shot within the first 10 minutes of the game, but missed just wide of the far post. Shortly after, she attempted a volley from outside the box and appeared to limp away afterward. Kealia Ohai followed Daly’s lead and dodged the Courage defenders, but also shot wide. Nichelle Prince made a run, but quickly got called for offsides, her 16th call of the season. Daly became noticeably less active after her volley, causing suspicion for a possible injury. Meanwhile, the Courage struggled to maintain control of the ball, allowing for Houston to repeatedly steal and counter-attack. Attacking midfielder Kyah Simon slipped while in possession during a play by Dash, allowing for Courage midfielder Debinha to steal and attempt a shot. Later, Daly goes down with another possible injury after Kaleigh Kurtz falls over her back. As a result, Kurtz receives a yellow card and Simon takes the free kick. Fortunately for the Dash, Daly makes a quick recovery and returns for the remainder of the first half. Lynn Williams also receives a yellow card after a collision with Simon. Toward the end of the first half, the Courage showed significant improvement, making several connecting passes in the box as well as intercepting an attempted wall pass between Daly and Allysha Chapmen. The first half ends with both teams tied at 0-0.
Action Picks up During Second Half
At the beginning of the second half, Kealia Ohai outran the Courage defenders and chipped the ball over goalie Katelyn Rowland’s head. Darian Jenkins made an appearance during the 57th minute and subbed in for Lynn Williams, who just came off an injury. Meanwhile, Courage continued with a series of good attempts and quick passes in the box. Replacement player Frannie Crouse subbed in for Meredith Speck in the 62nd minute. Savannah Jordan also subbed in for Simon during the 67th minute. Daly received her 4th yellow card of the season following a hit on Kawamura. Unfortunately for Houston, if Daly receives a 5th yellow card she will have to sit out of the next game. Crouse picked up a ball in by Eddy and volleyed it into the net, scoring her first professional goal and tying up the game. With 10 minutes remaining,Thembi Kgatlana took a shot from the outside box and Veronica Latsko subbed in for Ohai. At the end of the game, Meleana Shim took a corner kick that hit Cari Roccaro in the face, preventing Dash from getting on the end of it.
Courage to Remain on Top
The game ended in a draw with a score of 1-1. North Carolina and Houston each received a point toward their position in the standings. This point will bring the Courage to a total of 30 points and the Dash to 14 points, leaving the Courage in first place and the Dash in seventh.