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North Carolina Courage star Kerolin tears ACL ahead of NWSL playoffs

(Scott Sewell/USA TODAY Sports)

Kerolin will miss the 2023 NWSL playoffs for the North Carolina Courage.

The 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder tore the ACL in her right knee in the regular-season finale. The 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit clinched a postseason berth for the Courage, but they will enter Sunday’s quarterfinal against Gotham FC without their best player.

Kerolin joined North Carolina in 2022, signing a three-year deal with the club, but her breakout season came in 2023. She finished second to Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith in scoring with 10 goals, including a hat trick on June 10 against the Chicago Red Stars. But with Smith missing nearly a quarter of the season with injury, Kerolin stood out as the front-runner for the MVP award.

In addition to her regular-season success, she led the Courage to a second consecutive NWSL Challenge Cup title. She scored the game-winning goal in the championship match, a 2-0 win against Racing Louisville on Sept. 9. And she played for Brazil at the 2023 World Cup.

The No. 3 seed Courage will host No. 6 seed Gotham FC in a quarterfinal contest at 7 p.m. ET Sunday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The match will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The winner will advance to face the No. 2 seed Portland Thorns in the semifinals on Nov. 5.