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Get to know North Carolina Courage, Utah Royals FC’s opponent on Saturday

Royals to face the league’s top team.

North Carolina Courage defender - Abby Dahlkemper
Cindy Lara

Okay. We’re going to say it from the get-go, North Carolina Courage is a really good team. They’re undefeated. They have a stingy defense (like the Royals). They are constantly on the attack with their high-press. They have outscored opponents 7-2 in four games.

Record: 4-0-0 (W-L-T)

Head coach: Paul Riley, 3rd season*
(*2016 - He coached the Western New York Flash. WNY Flash was sold and relocated to North Carolina in 2017.)

Home stadium: WakeMed Soccer Park

2018 season thus far

The Courage began the 2018 season against the 2017 NWSL Champions, Portland Thorns. It was a rematch of that championship game that North Carolina lost last October. The 2018 edition, game 1, of the Courage vs the Thorns ended in North Carolina’s favor with a 1-0 victory. Since then, North Carolina has defeated every opponent, including Sky Blue FC (1-0), Washington Spirit (4-2), and Seattle Reign (1-0).

Players to Watch

McCall Zerboni - The midfielder scored a brace against the Washington Spirit last Saturday. She was named Week 3 NWSL Player of the Week for her performance.

Jessica McDonald - McDonald has scored two vital game-winners this season. Her first was against Sky Blue in Week 2, and just this past Wednesday, she scored another one to help keep the Courage undefeated.

Sabrina D’Angelo - Goalkeeper D’Angelo has 3 saves, 2 goals against, and 3 clean sheets.

North Carolina Courage Overall

As already stated, North Carolina is a solid team. The Courage are already ahead of the NWSL with a 4-0-0 start to the 2018 season. Going into Saturday, North Carolina is tied for the league lead in goals scored with seven from five different goal scorers (Zerboni, McDonald, Debinha, Dunn, Lynn Williams). Three of their players are leaders in chances created: Crystal Dunn is second with 11, McDonald is third with eight, and Jaelene Hinkle is fourth with seven.

Injury Report

North Carolina Courage

OUT: Makenzy Doniak (left knee ACL tear – SEI), Yuri Kawamura (right knee ACL repair – D45), Julie King (left ankle repair)

QUESTIONABLE: Allysha Chapman (left hamstring strain), Samantha Mewis (right knee strain)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Debinha (BRA)