Cary, NC – After a 2-0 win against the Netherlands on Sunday, July 7, 2019, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) is only one of two teams to win the Women’s World Cup twice in a row and scored the most goals of any team in the tournament. And during the tournament, several players for the local North Carolina Courage helped propel the United States to that historic victory.
Four of the North Carolina Courage‘s players were part of the USWNT in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, played this Summer in France.
Those players were forwards Jessica McDonald and Crystal Dunn, midfielder Samantha Mewis and defender Abby Dahlkemper.
In the USWNT’s first match, they broke the Women’s World Cup record for largest margin of victory when they beat Thailand 13-0 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Mewis contributed to that record-breaking win with two goals of her own.
The fastest goal in the tournament was between the United States and Sweden, when Mewis got a corner kick and passed the ball to Lindsey Horan with the Porland Thorns. Horan scored the goal, giving the USWNT a lead in the third minute of the game, which they would go on to win 2-0.
After losing to France in friendlies competition earlier this year, the United States went on to beat the host team in the quarter-finals of the tournament, with significant help from the Courage players. Mewis, together with Chicago Red Stars’ Julie Ertz, were aggressive for the entirety of gameplay, slowing down France’s attacks by going for the offense themselves.
Additionally, as France started a faster offense in the final third of the game, both Dunn and Dahlkemper stopped multiple goal attemps. Dunn in particular squared off with Kadidiatou Diani, the French team’s star player. In the end, the USWNT won 2-1.
In the finals against the Netherlands, Mewis, Dunn and Dahlkemper all started for the United States. Mewis got Rose Lavelle from the Washington Spirit a quick pass at midfield, which led to Lavelle scoring in the 69th minute, raising the score to 2-0 after captain Megan Rapinoe from Reign FC scored a penalty kick a few minutes earlier.
Additionally, Dunn came very close to giving the USWNT a third goal in the final minutes of the game, but was blocked by Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.
During the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the NC Courage also had international representation. Courage team captain Abby Erceg played for New Zealand during the Send-Off series. During the World Cup, New Zealand took on another team with Courage representation – Canada – where goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé played.
And for Brazil, who narrowly lost to France in overtime as part of the Round of 16, Debinha played as one of the team’s midfielders.
The Courage will take on more international competition with the second International Champions Cup Women’s Tournament at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park this August 15 to 18, 2019.
The North Carolina Courage returns home with a match at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.