Chelsea’s Fran Kirby wins FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year
Kirby also won the inaugural award in 2018.
The matchup between the North Carolina Courage and the Orlando Pride was billed as an offensive battle.
Each team boasts skilled forwards known to be dangerous in the final third, so a high-scoring game seemed likely.
Saturday’s game, however, ended in a scoreless draw.
After struggling defensively throughout the Challenge Cup, the Courage’s back line was locked in to start. The Pride’s defense was also strong through the first 45 minutes, playing a disciplined, clinical game.
The best goal-scoring opportunity of the opening half came in the fourth minute off an Orlando set piece.
Taylor Kornieck’s free kick, taken from just outside the box, almost found the back of the net, but Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy leapt to tip it off the crossbar.
The second half featured more back-and-forth play, with each team’s defense able to shut down the opposing attack.
Alex Morgan nearly got on the scoresheet in the 72nd minute, but an impressive goal-line clearance by Carson Pickett kept the game tied 0-0.
Saturday night’s draw eliminated Orlando from East division contention and narrowed the Courage’s chances of playing in the Challenge Cup final. They needed a Gotham loss on Sunday to keep their hopes alive based on goal differential. Gotham ended up tying Louisville however, securing their own trip to the final.
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