NWSL Focus: Courageous comeback

The North Carolina Courage dropped its first points of the season when it had to settle with a 2-2 tie with the visiting Utah Royals in their first meeting, but last year's NWSL runner-up remained the league's only unbeaten team with a five-point lead on second-place Chicago after five games.

Merritt Mathias' blast from more than 25 yards put the Courage ahead in the sixth minute, but the Royals pulled ahead early in the second half on goals by Katie Stengel and Kristen Hamilton.

Crystal Dunn took advantage of a poor clearance by Utah keeper Abby Smith, though, to score into an empty net to even the score in the 80th minute.

Courage head coach Paul Riley was happy with how his players, playing their third game in a week, rallied to tie.

“I give the players a lot of credit,” Riley said. “They showed a bit of character coming back."

Utah now has drawn three of its first four games and remained one of four NWSL teams without a win.


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