Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo and North Carolina Courage on record roll

By The Canadian Press
August 24, 2018 - 5:45am

Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo and the North Carolina Courage are on a record roll.

The NWSL team's 3-0 win over the Orlando Pride last weekend was its 16th, tying the U.S. pro women's soccer record for regular-season victories for a second straight campaign.

With two games remaining, league-leading North Carolina (16-1-5) is one point shy of tying the NWSL regular-season points record of 54 set by Seattle in 2014.

And with its goal count at 47, North Carolina is four away from becoming the highest-scoring outfit in league history. Seattle also holds that record (50 goals) from the 2014 season.

North Carolina plays at Seattle on Saturday and hosts the Houston Dash on Sept. 8. 

"It's been an amazing season for us," said D'Angelo. "I think the team is just meshing and gelling well. And (coach) Paul (Riley) has created a culture with the team that we're willing to work for each other and we love each other.

"The style of play we put out on the field every week is consistent and it shows."

The lone blemish on North Carolina's season came two months ago, a 1-0 defeat by the visiting Utah Royals on June 16 when Brittany Ratcliffe's 94th-minute goal snapped the Courage's 12-game unbeaten streak (9-0-3).

North Carolina has gone 7-0-2 since, outscoring its opposition 23-4 along the way. The Courage hold a 13-point edge over Seattle (11-4-7) with Portland (10-6-6) another four points back.

D'Angelo has had to watch the success of late. The 25-year-old from Welland, Ont., was the No. 1 'keeper at the start of the season but a high ankle sprain sidelined her seven games in, allowing Katelyn Rowland to take over.

"It was a little bit of a tough road back," said D'Angelo. "And obviously Kate's been playing great."

With six shoutouts and an 0.81 goals-against average, Rowland still has the job. D'Angelo, who has four shutouts and an 0.50 goals-against average, is biding her time although she was in goal for North Carolina's 1-0 win over European champion Lyon in the International Champions Cup final on July 29.

The top four NWSL teams will face off in the Sept. 14-16 semifinals with the final slated for Sept. 22 in Portland.

North Carolina and Portland have history.

Canadian skipper Christine Sinclair led the Thorns to a 1-0 win over the Courage in the 2017 championship game. And prior to relocating to North Carolina, the Western New York Flash edged Portland 4-3 after extra time in the 2016 semifinals before winning a penalty shootout over the Washington Spirit in the final.

The move to North Carolina was a return south for D'Angelo, who attended the University of South Carolina.

"I love it," she said. "We're spoiled with the facilities down here so that's like a huge plus. And obviously the weather being warm for most of the year makes a huge difference with soccer."

The Courage play in Cary, N.C., with most of the players living in nearby Raleigh.

D'Angelo will see action with Canada prior to the playoffs. She is one of three 'keepers called up for the Sept. 2 friendly against Brazil in Ottawa.

D'Angelo, who started Canada's 3-1 win over Zimbabwe at the 2016 Olympics, has five caps and is yet to lose in Canadian colours (4-0-1).

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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