Claire Lavogez’s Long Range Strike Makes the Difference in an Eventful Match
By Jaden Dakwa – LA Soccer Press
A late long range strike from Kansas City midfielder Claire Lavogez earned the Current a 4-3 win over the North Carolina Courage in a goal-filled thriller at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday night. The Courage failed to snap a six match winless streak that stretches back to June 11th.
The Courage opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Diana Ordoñez’s first headed attempt on goal smacked off the post, fell down towards Debinha, and Ordoñez was on sight to convert on the second time of asking from close range. After scoring her eighth goal of the season, Ordoñez became the out right record holder for the most goals scored by a rookie in a season.
Kansas City Current responded quickly and equalized the match in the 20th minute after Kristen Hamiliton was able to turn the ball home from close range following a series of deflections on a corner.
After springing a quickfire counter attack in the 36th minute Meredith Speck clipped a ball over the top. Debinha did not make a run towards the ball as she recognized she was offside. Kerolin spotted the ball and made a late run to pick up the ball beyond the Current backline. Kerolin raced ahead into the box and squared the ball across to an oncoming Debinha who waited to stay onside. Debinha tapped the ball home into an empty net to give the Courage a 2-1 lead.
Lo’eau La’Bonta equalized for the Current in the 45th minute after the ball fell to her at the top of the box and she fired the ball into the side net.
In the 56th minute, Brianna Pinto whipped in a lofting cross that Kaleigh Kurtz was able to get her head to and the ball smacked down off the crossbar, the post, and trickled into the net.
The Courage surrendered their one goal advantage for the third time in the 60th minute after Kansas City Current midfielder Cece Kizer was able to bury her effort that bounced down from a diverted cross that was swung in from La’Bonta.
Claire Lavogez gave the Current the lead in the 79th minute after she hit a stunning long-range strike into the top corner.
Courage head coach Sean Nahas believes the team performed “alright”, but eventually the team’s inability to protect their leads lead to the loss.
“It was alright,” Nahas said. “We just didn’t finish the game out. Three leads and I guess that sums it up. Everything starts and stops with me really. It’s not the players fault. They competed, they found ways. We are scoring goals, but we are also conceding. And, that is the problem.
There was a hint of a celebratory atmosphere around the individual record breaking performance of Diana Ordoñez, who has now recorded the most goals by a rookie in a season.
Nahas has been impressed with her growth since the start of the season and believes she should be awarded the Rookie of the Year.
“She’s grown tremendously since the season started,” Nahas said. “She’s a 20 year old kid. To set the record in her rookie year, I think is unbelievable. I think she is Rookie of the Year. She’s finding ways to score goals just like she did in college. Everyday she gets better and she is learning what it is like to be a pro.”
Ordoñez spoke after the match about what has been the biggest transition from college to the pro level.
“I think a lot of things play into it,” Ordoñez said. “Just our formation is completely different from what we played in college. In terms of the league itself, it’s much, much quicker and more physical. I think that’s something that shocked me.”
Ordoñez was supported by two young fans that made a sign that read Diana Score-donez. Both of the young fans were wearing Virginia shirts and Ordoñez was “humbled” by their appreciation.
“It’s nice that people have followed me from college to here,” Ordoñez said. “Even in college we played a lot of games on this field. It’s nice for people to follow your career outside of the teams that you start at. It’s just really cool to see little kids that look up to you. It’s humbling. It’s cool.”
The Courage will return to action in the NWSL on Saturday, August 20th against the Portland Thorns at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
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.