The NWSL Fall Series continued on Saturday with the 2019 NWSL Shield winners North Carolina Courage hosting the 2020 Challenge Cup champion Houston Dash. In a back-and-forth affair, the Courage came from behind with two late goals for a 4-3 win in their Fall Series opener.
Here's what to know and see from the day's action:
Courage 4, Dash 3 (2H)
⚽ NC Courage: Dahlkemper (18')
⚽ Houston Dash: Latsko (25')
⚽ Houston Dash: Mewis (37')
⚽ NC Courage: Debinha (52')
⚽ Houston Dash: Schmidt (70')
⚽ NC Courage: Williams (82')
⚽ NC Courage: Debinha (86')
- North Carolina Courage 4, Houston Dash 3: It was a high-scoring match between the Courage and Dash in the south pod Fall Series opener today. The Courage were missing several key players to voluntary opt out, and adjusted their regular box formation into a 3-1-4-2. They were immediately pushed by the Dash, who were active early in their attack. Courage midfielder Debinha earned a penalty, and Abby Dahlkemper would convert to put North Carolina up in the 18th minute. Houston would eventually play out the half with the better chances, as they equalized in the 25th minute on a goal from Veronica Latsko, and pulled ahead in the 37th minute with a goal from Kristie Mewis. Debinha would bring the courage level in the 52nd minute, but Houston would pull ahead once again in the 70th minute with a goal from Sophie Schmidt. The Courage would make things level at 3-3 with a goal from Lynn Williams in the 83rd minute, with Debinha scoring the game-winner in the 86th minute.
Kristie Mewis scores on an angle
Houston wasted no time in applying the pressure to the backline thanks the Shae Groom, but it's this goal from Mewis on a narrow angle that gave the Dash the lead in the first half.
Debinha's lethal equalizer... and game-winner
Debinha scored two goals in the second half to lead the Courage to victory. The first one was an absolute rocket from outside of the box:
And the second one came shortly after Williams tied the game against the short-handed Dash:
Let's rate some of the notable performances on the day, with one being the worst and 10 being perfection:
Debinha, NC Courage: The Brazilian international reminded everyone watching that the conversation around her should move from top player in NWSL to top player in the world. The Courage midfielder earned a penalty kick with her play, and scored a brace that included a game-winner. Missing half your starters? No worries when you're powered by Debinha. RATING: 10
Lynn Williams, NC Courage: The longtime Courage forward was able to keep Houston's backline honest today with her play both on and off the ball. She was able to score a late-game equalizer for her team, resetting the momentum in their favor down the stretch. RATING: 8
Shae Groom, Houston Dash: Groom was able to put Houston in numerous opportunities on the pitch today. Her work rate, pressure on the ball, and unselfish play paved the way for smart looks on goal, as she assisted on two of Houston's goals today. RATING: 8
Allysha Chapman, Houston Dash: A tough outing for the Canadian international. Two questionable challenges one leading to a penalty kick and another earning a second yellow and red card suspension for next match, where they will miss her veteran presence. RATING: 5.5
A look ahead
Fall Series will continue next week with a rescheduled match against Portland Thorns FC and OL Reign on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The two rivals in the pacific northwest will kick things off for the West pod.
Portland Thorns FC vs OL Reign, Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (Twitch): The rivals will meet again after playing to a 0-0 draw in the Challenge Cup back in July.
Fall Series matches will continue through Oct. 17. You can stream matches on CBS All Access.