Utah Royals FC 1, N.C. Courage 0
June 16, 2018; Cary, North Carolina; Sahlen’s Stadium, WakeMed Soccer Park
Utah Royals FC (4-2-5, 17 points); N.C. Courage (9-1-3, 30 points)
Woman of the Match
Fear the bow. On Saturday, June 16, Brittany Ratcliffe delivered a game winning goal in the 94th minute of stoppage time against the NWSL’s only undefeated team – N.C. Courage. Her tenacity and grit allowed the New Jersey native to win a crucial tackle on top of Carolina’s box, and ultimately get goal that would dethrone the first-place squad. Not only was the goal a key turning point in the match, but Ratcliffe’s ability to come off the bench and immediately impact the game makes her this week’s “Woman of the Match.”
Throughout the match, N.C. Courage held a large portion of the run of play – winning in total possession (55%), total shots (15) and crossing nearly 30 clean balls into the eighteen. Prior to Saturday, Carolina was averaging about two goals a game, and carried the most productive attack in the NWSL – making the clean-sheet for URFC the most telling statistic from the game. Coach Harvey’s team is now the only team in the NWSL to keep the Courage from scoring in 2018, thanks to a strong defensive presence that allowed Utah to absorb the speedy attack.
What You Missed
Ratcliffe’s 94th minute goal was one of the most exciting moments of the 2018 NWSL season, silencing Sahlen’s Stadium as the entire team leapt to the field and into the arms of an ecstatic Laura Harvey. Included in the celebration was GK Abby Smith, who continues to move up in the NWSL rankings for clean-sheets, returning home with her fifth of the season. URFC is now only one of three teams to come away with points against the Courage, and the first team to gain victory of the Carolina side.
This win will give the team a huge boost before they head to Toyota Park to take on mid-western foe, the Chicago Red Stars, this Saturday, June 23. URFC has only played against Chicago once before, losing 1-0 in the historic home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium in early April. Since then, the Red Stars have developed a potent attack, with Australian national team star Sam Kerr bagging a majority of the their goals.