Abby Erceg scored a thundering header following a short corner kick to lift the North Carolina Courage past the Chicago Red Stars, 1-0 on Sunday in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup. The Courage sit atop the tournament standings with three wins from three games.
Crystal Dunn played a short corner kick to Denise O’Sullivan, who then passed to Jaelene Daniels in the center of the field, well outside of the 18-yard box. Daniels served a right-footed cross first time to the back post, where Erceg lost her mark and headed the ball off the bottom of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
— CBS Sports Soccer (@CBSSportsSoccer) July 5, 2020
Chicago mostly limited the typically high-octane Courage attack, keeping North Carolina to 15 shots.
Chicago’s best opportunity of the match came in the 41st minute, when Kealia Watt stripped Abby Dahlkemper of the ball at midfield and ran toward goal for a potential 1-v-1 opportunity with Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland. Dahlkemper pursued Watt from behind, pulling on her arm, and Erceg recovered to pressure Watt from behind with a sliding tackle. Watt got the shot off, which Rowland saved, and Erceg caught some of Watt’s ankle. No foul was called.
Here's the save by Rowland on Watt! The giveaway, speed, save…scenes! pic.twitter.com/TRmrzODghr
— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) July 5, 2020
The game was the first meeting between Chicago and North Carolina since the 2019 NWSL Championship in October, which the Courage won comfortably, 4-0, for a second straight title.
Further analysis to follow.
DISCUSS: What did you think of the game? Which player stood out?
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