Seven shots on goal, 60% possession, and a superb performance by Brazilian international Kerolin who netted a hat-trick in her 72 minutes of play gave the North Carolina Courage a 5–0 blowout road victory over the Chicago Red Stars.
North Carolina took the lead in the 11th minute when Kerolin converted an assist from Mille Gejl inside the penalty area. Gejl observed Kerolin’s run towards the penalty spot and delivered a well-placed pass and the Brazilian was able to fire coolly past Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
20 minutes later, Gejl transitioned from provider to scorer as she received a pass from Denise O’Sullivan that she was able to swiftly turn towards goal and unleashed a powerful shot past Naeher. Three minutes later Kerolin would get her second thanks to an assist from Kaleigh Kurtz. Seven minutes after play began in the second half, O’Sullivan would score on a little cutback pass from Narumi Miura.
Finally, in the 60th minute, the Kerolin and the Courage scored their fifth and final goal – propelling Kerolin to the top of the league’s Golden Boot race in the process. The Courage initiated a swift counter attack just inside the Chicago half, with forward Tess Boade delivering a precise pass to Kerolin on the left side of the box that she seized upon and then subsequently unleashed a powerful shot that soared into the top left corner of the net.
Credit to Red Stars coach Chris Petrucelli, who was undaunted by the half-time scoreline and gambled with all his subs shortly after play resumed: Cheyna Matthews and Samantha Fisher in midfield, defenders Jill Aguilera and Jenna Bike, and Ella Stevens in for Sandra Starke.
“We had nothing to lose” he said. “We had a choice at half time. We could sit in and not try to get beat too bad or we could come out and try to get back in the game. We set up a little bit more aggressively and went with the idea of trying to score and we didn’t. We were more aggressive I would say and some who came off the bench brought a little bit of life to the team.”
According to OptaJoao, Kerolin is the second Brazilian to score a hat trick in NWSL history. The first was Debinha, who is currently with the Kansas City Current, and she did it wearing Courage colors as well.
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