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Chicago brings home win; NCC bounce back in 4-1 victory

SANTA MONICA — The NWSL begins to enter the second half of its season, but the competition remains tough as teams fight to make playoffs in the coming months. Chicago began its rally back to the top of the standings while North Carolina sought redemption after its first loss last week to the Utah Royals. 

3️⃣ Points

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CHICAGO 2, UTAH 0

Chicago has seen its best performances in the last three games than it has all season. The Red Stars suffered from a winning drought, having not seen a win since mid-April. However, June has bestowed its blessings on the Red Stars. Chicago defeated Utah 2-0 Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park.

It may have been all Utah in the first half, but Chicago finished the game. After 45 minutes of just watching Utah take shot after shot, the Red Stars walked out of the locker room and began to control the game. Beginning to work the ball around, star forward Sam Kerr dumped the ball off to Vanessa DiBernardo at the top of the box. DiBernardo settled the ball just before blasting in an unguarded goal in the 70th minute to extend the Red Stars’ lead to 2-0.

Minutes prior, Chicago had begun to find a momentum with its attacking line. Danielle Colaprico sent the ball in from near the half field mark. Crowding the box waiting for the kick, Katie Naughton fought off the Utah defenders and headed the ball toward goal. Caught off her line, Utah keeper Abby Smith watched the ball sail over her head into the goal for Chicago’s first goal of the night.

Chicago improves to 4-7-3 on the season while Utah falls to 4-5-3. Chicago will face Washington next on July 1 at 3 p.m. Utah continues its season facing Seattle on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

HELLO LYNN WILLIAMS #SEAvNC #NoFinishLine @lynnwilliams9

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NCC 4, SEATTLE 1

In some ways, Seattle drawing first blood may have been the fire that drove North Carolina to a 4-1 win over the Reign Saturday night at UW Medicine Pitch.

An early goal by Seattle’s M. Oyster proved to be the wake up call the Courage needed after being handed its first loss this season last week. Once Settle rebounded for the first goal in the 18th minute, NCC came back with a fire that would leave the Reign behind as it pounded in three goals over 21 minutes of play.

After Seattle’s initial shot, the Courage upped its attacking game and began seeing the production its known for. In the 27th minute, Jaelene Hinkle crossed the ball to the back post where Lynn Williams stood poised for her attack. Williams headed the ball perfectly over the keeper as commentators noted Seattle goalkeeper Lydia Williams “had no chancel.” Six minutes later, Lynn Williams dumped the ball off to Crystal Dunn who booted it low, edging the ball underneath Seattle’s keeper.

However, production didn’t slow after halftime. Three minutes into the half, Merritt Mathias hurled a jab from a Seattle defender and pounded in NCC’s third goal of the night, just out of reach of Lydia Williams. Lynn Williams and Dunn would repeat their second goal in the 70th minute. NCC went 14 for 25 on the night while Seattle went 5 for 16.

NCC improves to 10-3-1 while Seattle falls to 5-4-3. The Courage resume play on Saturday against Orlando at 12:30 p.m. Seattle returns to the pitch Wednesday to face Utah.

In other news around the league, Portland defeated the Dash 3-1 Friday night while Orlando edged out Washington 1-0. Sky Blue had the week off.

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