all scores

Debinha’s hat trick keeps North Carolina’s postseason hopes alive

North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha (10) runs with the ball during the second half against the New Jersey/New York Gotham FC at WakeMed Soccer Park. (Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports)

Debinha put on a show Saturday night, logging a hat trick to lift the North Carolina Courage to an emphatic 3-0 over Gotham FC.

The Brazilian star opened up scoring in the 27th minute, running onto a perfectly weighted ball from Carson Pickett before faking out Michelle Betos and slotting home the go-ahead finish.

Keeping her foot on the gas, Debinha added to her tally in the 34th minute, volleying a lofted cross past the Gotham FC keeper to put North Carolina up 2-0 heading into the break.

Debinha completed her hat trick with another quality finish in the 81st minute, chipping a shot over Betos after finding plenty of time and space on the right flank.

The 30-year-old’s prolific outing earned the praise of Coach Sean Nahas, who said Debinha is on a “different level.”

“Not sure there is a better player in the world right now,” Nahas said in a Twitter post after Saturday’s game.

Debinha now has 12 goals on the season, tied with Portland’s Sophia Smith for second in the Golden Boot race behind Alex Morgan, who leads the league with 15 goals.

The Courage’s shutout caps off an impressive run with four wins in the club’s last five games. North Carolina’s late-season stand has lifted the club to sixth in the NWSL standings, just above the playoff contention line.

North Carolina will end their season with a trip to San Diego on Sept. 30 to take on the Wave with a place in the playoffs in play.