Crystal Dunn set up Lynn Williams in the 82nd minute. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CARY, N.C. – Lynn Williams netted the only goal in the 82nd minute in the North Carolina Courage’s 1-0 win over Reign FC in National Women’s Soccer League action Saturday night.
Rockville Centre, N.Y. native and midfielder Crystal Dunn set up the goal in front of 6,743, the largest NC Courage crowd this season at WakeMed Field.
“Overall the quality of the entire team was very good tonight,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said. “We defended really well.”
The Courage came out with a strong offensive push, firing 11 shots in the first 35 minutes. The team took advantage of its corner kicks, creating four close chances after Abby Dahlkemper and Merritt Mathias sent arching balls into the box.
In the 40th minute, Kristen Hamilton earned a free kick just outside of the box, setting up the Courage for a chance on goal. After some trickery, Debinha fired off a shot that goalkeeper Casey Murphy barely got a fingertip on to make the save. The ball hit off of the crossbar.
Less than two minutes later, Debinha drilled another shot from long range that Murphy barely got enough on to make the save. Despite 18 shots in the first half, the game was scoreless at halftime.
The hosts dominated possession from the beginning of the second half, keeping pressure on the defense of Reign FC. Murphy continued to make big saves.
In the 80th minute, Jessica McDonald started the play led to the game-winning goal. McDonald slipped a ball through to Dunn, who streaked to the end line before centering the ball to Williams. Williams easily finished on a textbook play.
The goal was Williams’ seventh of the season while the assist was Dunn’s second.
The Courage next travels to Sky Blue FC Saturday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m.