Courage Seal Three Points Through Second Half Goal From Tyler Lussi

by | Jun 26, 2023 | NWSL

Casey Murphy Notches a Milestone in Fourth Consecutive Win for the Courage

By Jaden Dakwa – LA Soccer Press

A second half goal from substitute Tyler Lussi handed the North Carolina Courage a 1-0 victory over Racing Louisville on Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park. 

In the 11th minute, Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana struck an effort towards goal that glanced wide of the near post.

Racing Louisville were nearly able to capitalize off of a set piece in the 28th minute. Wang Shaung was able to play a ball into the box from a free kick. Kirsten Davis was able to get her head to the ball, but her header was saved by Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy.

Rikke Madsen came on to the pitch as a substitute in the 40th minute for Meredith Speck. Speck suffered a knee injury after a collision with Racing Louisville defender Savannah DeMelo. Speck left the pitch to return to the locker room.

In the 52nd minute, DeMelo played in Kgatlana behind the Courage defense and Kgatlana played a ball across the face of goal into the path of Davis. Davis was unable to get a finishing touch to the ball.

North Carolina Courage forward Tyler Lussi came onto the pitch as a substitute in the 59th minute to replace Tess Boade. 

North Carolina Courage forward Kerolin was able to intercept in the 69th minute and drove forward on a counter attack. She played a pass into the path of substitute Olivia Wingate. Wingate struck a shot but was unable to direct her effort on target.

North Carolina Courage right back Ryan Williams played a ball into the box during the 73rd minute that fell into the path of Tyler Lussi. Lussi took an attempt towards goal that was blocked by Elli Pikkujämsä. Lussi’s next effort was saved by Katie Lund. Lussi was able to find the net on the third time of asking to open the scoring for the Courage. 

Olivia Wingate was able to slip past a couple of defenders in the 82nd minute and took an effort towards goal that was blocked by Abby Erceg.

Racing Louisville right back Lauren Milliet played a lofted ball in the 88th minute into the path of Parker Goins. Goins’ effort on goal drifted just wide of the far post.

The North Carolina Courage were able to hold onto their one goal advantage to secure three points. The Courage have now won four consecutive matches across all competitions.

North Carolina Courage head coach Sean Nahas spoke about the team’s performance throughout the ninety minutes.

“Yeah, massive three points,” Nahas said. “I’m exhausted. Yeah, I think it’s a tale of two halves for us. We just weren’t ourselves in the first half we felt we were really flat. The passes that we made were just passes to pass the ball there was really no purpose in them. And then we started to get a little bit impatient, started going a little more direct and balls to straight and just the runs were off. Needless to say, there’s a massive challenge at halftime. And, the players responded really well in the second half.”

The Courage notched their third consecutive clean sheet in the NWSL and goalkeeper Casey Murphy became the youngest player ever to reach 30 clean sheets. Courage head coach Sean Nahas talked about the work the team did off the ball to help the team secure three points.

“We talked about transition spaces and minimizing DeMelo,” Nahas said. “We talked about Kgatlana. I thought Ryan was unbelievable against Kgatlana because she is a dangerous player. I felt the performance was good. The second balls I thought we could be a little bit better. The game got a little bit stretched. Anytime you get a clean sheet it’s great. Casey wasn’t really tested at all.”

Casey Murphy spoke about the accolade and how the team has helped her to achieve that milestone.

“I didn’t even know where I was at with that, but that’s pretty cool news,” Murphy said. “Luckily, I’ve had some solid defenders help me get there and a total team effort when it comes to shutouts. So appreciate all the work that goes in, getting behind the ball, blocking shots, blocking crosses, and then whenever they need me, I’ll be there to clean things up.”

North Carolina Courage forward Tyler Lussi spoke about the adjustments in the second half and how it helped the team to find a winner.

“Yeah, I think we were pressing them higher, stepping higher, moving the ball really quick,” Lussi said. “Just good in terms of keeping the play in their half. We’re obviously really good at possessing the ball which then we can calm ourselves down, and in the final third possess the ball and get more chances and more shots off.”

Lussi has scored three goals this season and each of these goals have been game-winners. Lussi believes the main focus is wanting to help the team win in any area possible.

“Definitely, I just want to help my team win,” Lussi said. “You know if I can put goals in the back of the net, that’s what I can do. You know, work off the ball, run the ball. So, it definitely feels really good and just trying to play my part and help the team win.”

The Courage will play their next match against the Houston Dash on July 1st, in Cary, NC at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7PM ET.

Dakwa holds a BS in Journalism from Elon University. He writes about North Carolina professional soccer for L.A. Soccer Press. Follow him at @JDakwa on Twitter.