NWSL Challenge Cup: North Carolina Courage’s Debinha scores the first goal of the tournament

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    North Carolina Courage star Debinha just needs a couple seconds to change a game, and she did that on Saturday in the NWSL Challenge Cup opener in Utah. The Brazilian gave the Courage a 1-0 lead in the second half against the Portland Thorns, heading home in the 75th minute with a near-post run. Hailie Mace came on for the Courage in the 72nd minute, and three minutes later she set up Debinha with a good ball at the near post. 

    Debinha, whose run started closer to midfield as the favorites went on the counter, called for a high cross by signaling to Mace, and the two were on the same page. Take a look:

    A quality goal for the Courage, but you have to feel that at that point of the game, it should have been their second or third goal. The Courage had been controlling the game, creating the most dangerous chances but lacking sharpness in the final third. So only taking a 1-0 lead, you know what happened next, right? The Thorns would get an equalizer just five minutes later, leaving the victory hanging in the balance for either. Fortunately for the two-time reigning champs, Lynn Williams came through in added time, heading home the winning goal on a cross from Sam Mewis in what was a thrilling start to the competition.

    The action continues tonight at 10 p.m. ET with the Chicago Red Stars taking on the Washington Spirit. Here’s what to know about the game.

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