Playing without Lynn Williams and Jessica McDonald, the North Carolina Courage got a Kristen Hamilton brace inside the opening quarter hour and defeated the Breakers 3-1 to extend their lead atop NWSL.
Hamilton, starting up top with Ashley Hatch, scored in the 3rd minute with an assist from Samantha Mewis. Ten minutes later she did it again. The second goal was an Abby Dahlkemper cross that Abby Erceg put off the far post. The ball went back to the near side where Hamilton as able to bury it to make it 2-0.
Hatch joined the party in the 38th minute when she and Breakers keeper Abby Smith came together on a challenge outside Smith’s 18. The ball tapped back to Makenzy Doniak who returned it to Hatch and the No. 2 overall pick was able to beat Smith before she could scramble back into position.
The Breakers got on the board in the 73rd minute when Adriana Leon found the far netting from a tight angle out of the right corner.
The Courage (7-3-0, 21 pts) moved 4 points clear of the Red Stars for 1st place and are no longer at the mercy of the Chicago side’s match in hand. The Breakers (2-5-2, 8 pts) extended their winless streak to six. The teams will meet again in a week’s time at Jordan Field in Boston.