North Carolina Courage defeated the Portland Thorns 2-1 in the opening game of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup tournament on Saturday, thanks Lynn Williams stoppage time goal.
The NWSL is the first professional team sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic. The teams had opened preseason training camps when the league shut down on March 12.
Players from both teams collectively took a knee during the national anthem and wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts in pre-game warmups to protest racial inequity.
After a scoreless first half, Brazilian Debinha broke through for the Courage by tapping in a ball served up by former UCLA standout Hailie Mace.
But the Thorns tied it minutes later when Simone Charley scored off a scramble in front of the North Carolina goal after Lindsey Horan’s shot rebounded off the crossbar. Williams scored the go-ahead goal on a header off a cross from Samantha Mewis.
The North Carolina Courage will face the Washington Spirit on Wednesday, July 1 at 10 p.m. EST to continue the preliminary round of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.