Three-peat: North Courage clinches NWSL Shield again

The North Carolina Courage clinched the NWSL Shield for the third year in a row with a 3-0 win at Utah.

Sam Mewis (from the penalty spot), Jaelene Hinkle (her first goal with the Courage) and Brazilian Debinha scored for the Courage, which won its sixth straight game.

The Courage will host an NWSL semifinal match at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Cary will also be the home of this year’s NWSL championship game.

Despite the loss, the Royals remained in fourth place, holding the final playoff berth, because Reign FC fell at home to Sky Blue FC, 1-0, on a goal by Carli Lloyd. Reign FC hosts Utah in their match-up game on Wednesday.

With Saturday's wins, Chicago and Portland also clinched playoff berths.

NWSL Standings:
1. *NC Courage, 46 points (22)
Schedule: Sept. 28 at Washington, Oct. 12 Sky Blue FC.

, 41 points (23)
Schedule: Sept. 28 Utah.

3. *Portland, 39 points (22)
Schedule: Sept. 29 at Reign FC, Oct. 12 Washington.

, 31 points (21)
Schedule: Sept. 25 at Reign FC, Sept. 28 at Chicago, Oct. 12 Houston.

Reign FC
, 31 points (21)
Schedule: Sept. 25 Utah, FC, Sept. 29 Portland, Oct. 12 at Orlando.

, 26 points (20)
Schedule: Sept. 25 at Houston, Sept. 28 NC Courage, Oct. 5 at Orlando, Oct. 12 at Portland.

, 25 points (22)
Schedule: Sept. 25 Washington, Oct. 12 at Utah.

Sky Blue FC
, 19 points (22)
Schedule: Sept. 29 Orlando, Oct. 12 at NC Courage.

, 14 points (21)
Schedule: Sept. 29 at Sky Blue FC, Oct. 5 Washington, Oct. 12 Reign FC.
Note: In parentheses are games played.
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