NC Courage Mid-Season Catchup

Alright, we’re all new here so I’m going to give us a refresher on what’s going on so far during this NWSL season. Ironically enough this is the perfect time to do this since we are literally halfway through the season. Let’s take a look at where the Courage currently stand.

With 12 NWSL games played so far (out of 24), the Courage currently sit at 6-4-2 with a +14 goal differential which has them sitting on top of the NWSL standings. Without knowing anything and just looking at the standings, this league is very competitive and the competition is extremely close to each other leaving the margin for error very thin if you want to win the league. Which is good a thing, there’s like six of nine teams who have a legitimate shot.

The Courage goal differential is pretty eye opening compared to the rest of the league. The next highest is Portland at +7, so if it comes down to GD then the Courage should be feeling very comfortable.

As far as statistical leaders go, Kristen Hamilton lead the courage in scoring with 7 goals in 11 games played but it appears she was filling in for Jessica McDonald who was on USWNT duty. It will be interesting to see if McDonald returns to the starting lineup or if manager, Paul Riley, rides with the hot hand in Hamilton.

Lynn Williams (5) and Crystal Dunn (4) follow in scoring behind Hamilton. Williams is seen as a future USWNT player while Dunn, like McDonald was busy winning the World Cup. Dunn has also only featured in three games this season so I expect her to be a big addition to the team. Also, she started at left back for most of the World Cup, but she’s an attacking midfielder for the Courage. Versatile, I like it.

Williams, Merritt Mathias, and Jaelene Hinkle (yes, her) lead the team –and the league– in assists with four each. USWNT star Sam Mewis should slot back into the starting lineup which will add some fire power to the midfield.

That’s probably about it, Canadian goal keeper, Stephanie Labbe, has already reclaimed her starting spot on the team. The Courage kick off against Sam Kerr and the Chicago Red Stars, Sunday at 6. It will be on ESPN 2 so we all have no excuse not to tune in.

The QG Welcomes the NC Courage

Let me start this off by saying that I genuinely have no idea where I’m going with this, but this is something that I definitely want to do. You could say I’m acting on impulse thanks to the wonderful events of the World Cup this past month, but I think it’s deeper than that.

When I created The Queen’s Guard, the idea of it was that it would one day be a hub where all sports fans in the Carolina’s can come to read pieces and get information about their team. We started off just covering the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets, a few months later we then expanded our coverage by adding the Carolina Hurricanes. Hitting on all three of the major professional teams that the Carolina’s have to offer, and honestly, I feel like we’ve done a damn good job so far.

Our numbers have been growing with each month, and to all of our followers and writers I can only thank you for that, but the job is not done! We’re still just scratching the surface and have plenty of room to grow and expand and still need to fight to be at the forefront of Carolina sports media. Thanks to Mike Kyle, The QG led the way during the biggest decision in Charlotte Hornets history as Kemba Walker departed for the Boston Celtics, which is something that I never thought would happen this fast. Miss you Kemba…

I want to continue this trend of leading the way by adding the North Carolina Courage to our roster. When I first made this site I thought it would be nice to add a MLS team if that were to ever happen one day, yet the Courage have been here the entire time. Staring right at my face. Not only have they just been here, but they have been GOOD.

We’re talking about the current NWSL Champions, NWSL Shield Champions and the International Champions Cup Champions. You could argue that they’re the best women’s soccer team in the world as they beat the highly praised Lyon team who’s won the Women’s Champions League trophy four times in a row now. We’ll see what happens if they both make it to this years final again in the ICC which is set to take place in mid August. The Courage have four ladies that featured on the U.S.A World Cup Champions squad in Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Sam Mewis, and Jessica McDonald. Along with one international star in the Brazilian, Debinha.

Why didn’t I (and probably plenty of others) know this when they’re right in our backyard in Raleigh, NC?

I actually know the answer to that but that’s for a whole other article… At any rate, after this years World Cup and the steps that the WNBA (bring a team back to the Carolina’s) has taken as a league, I think it’s clear that the interest in women’s sports is at an all time high, and it’s up to us to continue to place it on a pedestal and expose it to the rest of the world, it can be just as if not more exciting than their men’s counterparts.

Honestly, we have no excuse at this point, ESPN struck a deal during the middle of the World Cup to broadcast games for the rest of the season and all of the other games are streamed on Yahoo! Sports. Here’s that ESPN schedule for you, I see four Courage games so lets get after it.

With that, I’ll sign off on this article. I’m not sure what the next steps are here, but I’m committed to this and the Courage and will hopefully be delivering some good NWSL content soon!