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CARY, N.C. — Still unbeaten — at least against the Courage
Amy Rodriguez scored in the first 10 minutes, but North Carolina came back to tie the visiting Royals 1-1 Sunday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
It was Rodriguez’s third goal of the season for Utah (3-1-1, 10 points), which was the only team in the NWSL to go unbeaten against the Courage through 2018. The run included the Royals' stunning 1-0 win at WakeMed last year, courtesy of a late goal by Brittany Ratcliffe.
North Carolina (2-1-3, 9 points) out-shot the Royals 10-2 in the first half and controlled 56.7 percent of possession through 45 minutes.
But the Royals held the Courage to a single shot on goal in the first half and led from the seventh minute when Rodriguez finished off a pass from Vero Boquete to go up 1-0.
It was Utah's only shot on goal of the half, but the former U.S. international made it count against the defending league champs from North Carolina’s research triangle.
Nicole Barnhart kept the Courage at bay for more than two-thirds of the match, stopping two shots on goal on 14 shots faced through 75 minutes for the Royals.
Elizabeth Eddy equalized for North Carolina in the 78th minute, finishing off a brilliant flick by Débora Cristiane de Oliveira, better known as Debinha, to tie the match at 1-1, setting up a frenetic final 10 minutes. The score came as Carolina pressed Utah for the game-tying goal, controlling possession and forcing the Royals into more than 30 clearances while taking siege.
But despite putting up 18 shots, the Courage could manage just three chances on frame and couldn't find a second marker en route to the draw after four minutes of stoppage time.
With the point, Utah moves into a three-way tie for first in the league, going the Washington Spirit and Houston Dash on 10 points.
The Royals return home to host the Orlando Pride next Saturday, May 25 at 6 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed on Yahoo Sports and KSL.com.