NWSL Focus: North Carolina handed first loss in 13 games on late stunner

The North Carolina Courage finally lost its first game of the NWSL season, and as far as head coach Paul Riley was concerned, it should be a positive.

The Courage's 12-game unbeaten streak come to an end when it lost at home to the Utah Royals, 1-0, on Brittany Ratcliffe’s goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

“As they say, you need to lose,” Riley said. “We’ll see what we’re made of as a group, and I think it’s good for adversity. You have to have it at some point, and sooner than later, so we can regroup again. We’ve got great character in the group, and we go on the road now for two really tough games.”

Both Crystal Dunn and Denise O’Sullivan were unlucky in the second half when they had shots hit off the crossbar, but the Courage was otherwise stymied by one of the best defenses in the NWSL.

The Courage will head to play Seattle next Saturday afternoon. It still leads the Reign by 11 points.

June 16 in Cary, N.C.
NC Courage 0 Utah 1. Goal: Ratcliffe 90+4.
NC Courage -- Rowland; Hinkle, Erceg, Kurtz, Mathias; Debinha, Zerboni, Mewis, Dunn; Hamilton (O’Sullivan 59), McDonald (Williams 72).
Utah -- Smith; Moros, Sauerbrunn, Corsie, Bowen; Jonsdottir, Scott; Stengel (LaBonta 68), Gorry (Ratcliffe 77), Matheson; Rodriguez (Thorsnes 84).
Att.: 5,164.
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