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In the offseason, the Courage signed forward Kerolin Nicoli to a three-year contract. So far this season, she appeared in five matches during the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup with three starts and tallied a goal in the Cup final. Kerolin also went the full 90 minutes in the team’s opening game of the NWSL regular season. The Brazilian international appeared in seven matches for the Brazilian senior national team over the course of 2021 and capitalized on her opportunities, scoring five goals.

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North Carolina lost its opening game of the NWSL regular season to Angel City FC 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,000 fans at Banc of California Stadium. Their most recent game against NJ/NY Gotham FC was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The Courage are also coming off winning the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. They defeated the Washington Spirit 2-1, backed by goals from forward Kerolin Nicoli and an own goal from midfielder Taylor Aylmer. The Courage did not lose a single match in the Challenge Cup finishing with an overall record of 5-0-3.

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Courage midfielder Debinha was named the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Most Valuable Player, setting the record for goals in consecutive Cup matches this year by hitting the back of the net in five straight games. She also tallied an assist in the tournament final, helping the Courage to their first Challenge Cup crown. North Carolina captain Abby Erceg and defender Carson Pickett were both also named to the Challenge Cup All-Tournament Team.

Head-to-Head

The Pride and the Courage faced off twice earlier this season in the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup with the Courage coming out on top in both matchups. The first meeting came on March 26, ending in a 1-0 victory for the Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park. The second matchup saw a 4-2 victory for North Carolina at Exploria Stadium. In the 2021, regular season the two sides faced off four times with two of the games ending in a draw and each team picking up a victory in the remaining two games. 

Rasmussen University Fun Fact

Nearly exactly a year ago to the day, goalkeeper Erin Mcleod made her debut for the Pride against the North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park. That match, on May 22, 2021, marked the Pride’s first win in Cary since 2017, with the team defeating the Courage 2-1 behind goals from Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan. McLeod made four saves in that match for her first victory with Orlando.