On Sunday, the North Carolina Courage defended their NWSL title with a 4-0 thumping of the Chicago Red Stars. Here are three things we learned.
The North Carolina Courage started the final on the front foot, only taking four minutes to find the opener when Debinha notched the fastest goal in NWSL final history. Jessica McDonald doubled the champions’ lead in the 25th minute to make it 2-0 and her USWNT counterpart Crystal Dunn added the third in the dying moments of the first half. It was already game over.
The Red Stars began the second half much more positively but Abby Dahlkemper earned her first assist of the season when she sent in a ball that found Sam Mewis’ head to make it 4-0 in the 60th minute. That was the final nail in the coffin to hand the North Carolina Courage their second-straight NWSL championship, becoming the first team to win the title on their home field.
Here are three things we learned.
3. Debinha is a secret no more
This season has been an up-and-down campaign for North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha. Like many of her teammates, she was called into the Brazil squad for the summer World Cup. During her time representing Brazil, she gave glimpses of what she is capable of, and upon returning to NWSL, she continued her good run of form and was a key piece for Carolina’s championship repeat.
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In a team filled with stars as the Courage, it is easy for fans to pass by Debinha’s name on the lineup and turn attention to the likes of Crystal Dunn, Jessica McDonald, and Lynn Williams. But Debinha’s presence on the field cannot be overlooked, and she reminded fans that during her performance in the final.
The Brazilian midfielder grabbed the championship-clinching goal early in the match after she again notched the match-winner last week against Reign FC in a 4-1 win to send the Courage to their third-straight final. Her performances this season have made her one of the best players in the league as an MVP candidate and she now ends the season as the 2019 NWSL Championship MVP.