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Unstoppable: Rayadas 2-1 N.C. Courage

Rayadas

Rayadas
Rayadas got the second win of their history against an NWSL team. Crédito: Alejandro Garza

Unstoppable: Rayadas 2-1 N.C. Courage

Rayadas de Monterrey played against North Carolina Courage on Wednesday night at home. The host got a 2-1 win with goals scored by Rebeca Bernal and Diana Evangelista.

After winning against Portland Thorns in 2022, Rayadas decided it was time for another challenge against an NWSL team. This time the opponent was the North Carolina Courage, a club that it’s in a rebuilding process.

The game couldn’t have started in a better way. By minute 4 the referee saw a handball inside the box and granted a PK to Rayadas. Captain Rebeca Bernal converted it into the first goal of the game.

North Carolina suffered while trying to contain Rayadas and more than once midfielder Diana Evangelista put them to the test. The visitors tried to attack with fast transitions but the host contained them pretty well. As a result, the always dangerous Kerolin found few chances to test goalkeeper Alejandría Godínez during the first half.

At the beginning of the second half, Aylin Avilez and Silvana Flores came in for Mariana Cadena and Carlee Giammona. For the Courage, Meredith Speck and Tyler Lussi came in for Brianna Pinto and Gejl.

It looked like the changes worked pretty well for the visitors, who looked more dangerous and in control since then. Bernal was busier than she was in the first half marking Kerolin, who found more space and opportunities to work with the ball at her feet inside the box.

Kerolin inside the box. Source: Rayadas de Monterrey.

Evangelista, who was on the lookout for defensive mistakes, scored the second goal of the game. Casey Murphy tried to build from the back, passing the ball to the rookie Sydney Collins. But then the center back tried to pass it back to Murphy while not being aware of Evangelista, who was lurking near. She stole the ball and finished in the nearest post.

After the goal, coach Nahas kept moving the bench. Hopkins and Williams came out while Wingate and Pickett came in. Lussi had her chance next when Del Campo made a mistake while trying to pass the ball to the midfield. The Courage was pressing high by then, got the ball, and passed it to Tyler, who couldn’t hit it properly making it easy for Godínez to pick up the ball.

The Courage’s pressing and substitution bore fruit minutes later when Olivia Wingate pulled one back near minute 80. The Courage pressed once again when Rayadas tried to build up from the back and this time, they found what they were looking for. Wingate never disengaged from the play and intervened when Kerolin couldn’t break through two defenders.

The Courage pressing. Source: North Carolina Courage

After that, Britanny Ratcliffe had at least one more good chance to equalize but she just couldn’t finish it.

Rayadas making history

Sometimes it’s difficult for Mexican club to know where they really are, quality-wise, because the league is young and not all games suppose a challenge. We have seen how Club América is doing pretty well in the league – they sit third in the table – but they haven’t been able to win against an NWSL club yet. Most recently, they got beaten against Angel City on Tuesday and against OL Reign last February.

In the case of Rayadas, they came into this match unbeaten and at the top of the table. What is more, they’ve won all their games so far. Rayadas’ defense has been on point this season, with 588 minutes since someone scored a goal on them.

Knowing all these, it was interesting to see Eva Espejo’s team compete against an NWSL club and see what they could do. Granted, this Courage is not the same as we have seen before but still. Club América played against an OL Reign without most of their stars and couldn’t even get a draw against them.

In this way, Rayadas de Monterrey keeps being unstoppable not only at a league level but internationally. What is more, they’re the only Mexican team to have beaten two NWSL clubs ever, and both in less than a year.

Last but not least, this game marked the comeback of a Rayadas legend. After playing in Scotland for a season, Desireé Monsiváis came back subbing in for Evangelista in the second half. In this way, the club and the league got their top goalscorer back. Will she be able to keep breaking records?

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