Merritt Mathias strikes PK banger in Courage win


The North Carolina Courage downed the Orlando Pride 1-0 in front of a home crowd at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday night, earning three points in the Challenge Cup standings.

The hosts out-possessed and outshot the Pride but were unable to convert in the final third, leaving the game level through the opening 45 minutes.

In the 61st minute, the gridlock was finally broken after North Carolina was awarded a penalty kick following a handball from Gunny Jónsdóttir. Merritt Mathias lined up from the spot, striking a gutsy penalty to secure the 1-0 lead.

The 1-0 scoreline held until the final whistle, marking the Courage’s second-straight victory.

North Carolina now sits atop the East Division, four points clear of the Washington Spirit.