The North Carolina Courage are your 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup Champions. The Courage hoisted the first trophy of the season on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Racing Louisville FC at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, becoming the first back-to-back Challenge Cup champions in the four-year history of the competition.
The Courage seized momentum of the match following a weather delay that last more than two hours and opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a goal from Brazilian international Kerolin. North Carolina continued to apply pressure and was efficient in the attack, putting 11 of its 14 total shot attempts on goal, compared to just one shot on goal for Louisville. The Courage added an insurance goal just before the hour mark as Japanese teenager Manaka Matsukubo scored her first goal for the club in the 54th minute. The North Carolina defense withstood a late push from Louisville to secure the clean sheet – their fourth of the Challenge Cup campaign - and the Challenge Cup title.
The Courage qualified for their second consecutive Challenge Cup Final with a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Current on Wednesday, September 6. Playing on the road as the three-seed against the second-seeded Current, the Courage came up with the game’s only deep into second-half stoppage time as Brianna Pinto put away a bouncing ball in the box in the 90+6th minute following a throw-in from deep on the right wing. Casey Murphy made two saves in the shutout victory for the Courage while defender Emily Fox and the Courage backline held KC to just three shots on goal.
Racing Louisville, which entered the Challenge Cup playoffs as the four seed, defeated top-seeded OL Reign 1-0 on the road on Wednesday night to punch its ticket to the title match. Louisville scored the game’s only goal in the 28th minute and held the Reign to just two shots on goal to secure the first ever championship game appearance for the expansion club.
With the Challenge Cup now complete, the NWSL clubs and players shift their attention back to the regular season, where the playoff race is close as ever with just four match days remaining. The top six clubs in the league standing will advance to the postseason with the top two seeds earning first round byes.
In France, Lindsey Horan helped Olympique Lyon kick off the 2023-24 campaign with a 2-0 victory over rivals Paris Saint-Germain in the final of the Trophée des Championnes. Horan played the full 90 minutes and assisted Eugenie Le Sommer’s goal in 67th minute as OL topped PSG in the matchup between 2022-23 league and Coupe de France victors Lyon and runners-up in both competitions PSG.
Broadcast information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.
|Friday, September 15
|D1 Féminine: Le Havre AC vs. Olympique Lyon
|NWSL Regular Season: Racing Louisville FC vs. Houston Dash
|Saturday, September 16
|NWSL Regular Season: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Washington Spirit
|NWSL Regular Season: San Diego Wave FC vs. Kansas City Current
|NWSL Regular Season: Portland Thorns FC vs. OL Reign
|Sunday, September 17
|NWSL Regular Season: Chicago Red Stars vs. Angel City FC
|CBS Sports Network
|NWSL Regular Season: Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage