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North Carolina Courage’s Tyler Lussi emerges as reliable scorer

Tyler Lussi celebrates a goal with the North Carolina Courage, April 27, 2024
Photo Copyright Jaylynn Nash for USA TODAY Sports

CARY, N.C. — On Saturday, as the North Carolina Courage hosted Seattle Reign FC at WakeMed Soccer Park in National Women’s Soccer League action, a quiet-but-important moment emerged on the field during first-half play. With the action and most of the players on both teams confined to one side of the pitch, a Reign player slowly snuck up the other side. If the player hit the right mark and successfully received a big switch pass from a teammate, she could be free to bear down on goal, with no Courage defender anywhere close to offer resistance.

But North Carolina forward Tyler Lussi noticed the Seattle player creeping up. After looking around for a moment, she began to calmly walk over to get within range of her opponent. With the ball still pinging around the other side of the field, when Lussi was within about five yards of the Reign player, she began to press the hopeful attacker, and ultimately rendered the potential breakaway dead before it could even begin.

Later in the first half, Lussi scored the winning goal on the night, a karate kick finish from point-blank range off Ashley Sanchez’s cross, to give the Courage the 1-0 win. Understandably, that play will make the highlight reel, not the first one, but both situations underline the key role Lussi is playing in her second season with the Courage.

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