North Carolina Courage Defeat Reign FC 1-0
Lynn Williams scored for the Courage in the 82nd minute. Photo:

The North Carolina Courage remained undefeated at home after beating the Reign FC in a match that will no doubt have a lot of playoff implications.

Both sides have good looks in opening half

The Courage had the first scoring opportunity for either team in the 7th minute. Reign FC goalkeeper Casey Murphy punched away a shot by Kristen Hamilton the leading scorer for North Carolina this season, and a follow-up from USWNT left back Crystal Dunn was popped over the crossbar.

Four minutes later, the Reign saw their first scoring chance come from a corner kick taken by New Zealand international Rosie White. Her in-swinger fell to the feet of midfielder Beverly Yanez who placed her shot wide of the goal.

In the 14th minute, Courage captain Abby Erceg headed the ball off a corner kick toward Hamilton who flicked it just past the goal.

A minute later, the Courage won a free kick just outside the right side of the box. Debinha and Jaelene Hinkle were both over the ball, but Hinkle was the one who sent it right at Murphy to deflect away with two hands.

North Carolina continued to knock on the door, recording their seventh shot of the match in the 25th minute, which was a volley by Dunn after a corner kick that was inches away from going in.

USWNT midfielder Allie Long helped create a scoring chance for the Reign in the 29th minute. She inserted the ball to English international Jodie Taylor who was positioned with her back facing the goal. She laid the ball for rookie Bethany Balcer whose shot was deflected over the crossbar by a Courage defender.

In the 35th minute, it was USWNT midfielder Samantha Mewis who had a chance to find the net during a follow-up after a corner kick, but she half volleyed her attempt a little bit too high.

Debinha came the closest one can come to scoring without actually scoring in the 40th minute when Murphy denied her direct free kick attempt by tipping the ball onto the crossbar. It was truly a fantastic save as she had to react to the ball curling over the wall.

Two minutes later, she ripped a shot from outside the box that Murphy tipped over the goal.

Williams scores game winner

In the 54th minute, Long was left with space to shoot from distance, but her shot was barely wide of the target.

Murphy again kept the game scoreless temporarily in the 69th minute by blocking a shot that Dunn blasted from the right side of the six after getting opened at a wide angle.

Jessica McDonald and Dunn, teammates on the USWNT, set up Lynn Williams to score the game winning goal with eight minutes remaining in the match. McDonald slotted a through ball to Dunn in the box, and Dunn cut in a cross for Williams who was wide opened at the top of the six. Williams slotted the ball past the reach of Murphy.

The NWSL will only have one match played next weekend because of an international break. Both of these teams are next in action in two weeks. On September 7, the North Carolina Courage (8-4-4) will travel to New Jersey, and the Reign FC will host (7-4-6) the Orlando Pride.