Friday, June 21, 2024
5-Hour Energy

NWSL Match Preview: OL Reign (4-1-1) at North Carolina Courage (2-3-1)

WakeMed Soccer Park | Cary, North Carolina – Sunday, May 14 at 3:00 PM ET

Players to watch:

North Carolina forward Kerolin scored her 10th goal in all competitions for the Courage against Portland last weekend, but her goal was also her first from outside the box. The landmark sees her become the third Brazilian player with at least 10 goals in NWSL competitions, joining Kansas City’s Debinha (55) and Orlando’s Marta (27). Kerolin was joined by teammate Victoria Pickett on the scoresheet, with Pickett and Kerolin two of just four goalscorers on the year for the Courage.

OL Reign forwards Jordyn Huitema and Veronica Latsko both scored via headed goals in the club’s 2-0 win over the Dash on Saturday. Huitema is the only NWSL player with multiple headed goals in league play this season, while the Reign also lead the league in headed goals in 2023 with four. That duo still trails the leading duo of goalscorers for the Reign on the year, forward Bethany Balcer and midfielder Jess Fishlock. Balcer and Fishlock have each scored three goals in six games. 

Match facts: The North Carolina Courage are back at home on Sunday as the hosts of the first of three games across the league on the day. The Courage enter the night with a two-game unbeaten run after a win over Houston and draw with Portland, and they welcome an OL Reign side that is riding a five-game unbeaten mark dating back to the second game of the season. 

The Courage forced an own goal in the first minute of their 3-3 draw with Portland on Saturday. Of the two first-minute team goals in the club’s history (all competitions), both were own goals, also doing so against then-Sky Blue in 2019. In addition, the back-to-back positive results are good news compared to the club’s previous four matches (W1 L3) that started the season.

On the flip side, starting with their final game in 2021, OL Reign has lost just five times in its last 29 regular season games (W16 D8). None of those five losses came by more than one goal, as the 29-game streak of non multi-goal losses is the fourth longest such streak in league history and the longest since North Carolina had a league-record streak of 46 end in May 2019. On the road is the only place the Reign have dropped points as well, with the club collecting all nine points available from three home matches but four points from their available nine away from home (W1 D1 L1).

OL Reign swept its two meetings with the Courage last season with a 2-0 win at home and a 2-1 road victory. Prior to last season, the Reign had just one win in all competitions in the fixture’s history (D2 L9) with that lone victory in 2019 also being the team’s only time scoring multiple goals against North Carolina prior to last year.

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