By 90Min
April 29, 2019

The North Carolina Courage continued their strong start to the new NWSL season over the weekend after a comprehensive 4-1 win inflicted a first defeat of 2019 on the Houston Dash.

The reigning NWSL champions and back-to-back NWSL Shield winners underlined their ambition to top the regular season standings once more and successfully pull off a 'repeat' after dominating proceedings at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

It wasn't actually until first half stoppage time that the Courage took the lead, with Lynn Williams eventually finding a way through. But a flurry of second half goals from Crystal Dunn, Debinha and Leah Pruitt in the space of 16 minutes after the hour mark sent them 4-0 up.

A Dash goal scored by England international Rachel Daly in the closing stages was nothing more than scant consolation, with Houston dropping from second to fifth in the standings.

Elsewhere, the Utah Royals maintained their 100% winning record this season after a victory against the struggling Orlando Pride gave them two wins from two games so far in 2019.

Win-less Pride lined up with USWNT star Alex Morgan and reigning Best FIFA Women's Player Marta, but it was Morgan's international teammate Christen Press who scored the only goal of the game for the visiting Royals in Florida, showcasing exquisite control and finishing ability.

The Pride have now lost three times and drawn once this season and are bottom of the standings. Pride's defeat allowed Sky Blue to move off the bottom after USWNT veteran and icon Carli Lloyd roared into life to score two goals in a 2-2 draw against a dangerous Portland Thorns.

Sky Blue still haven't won this season, but after a poor start that had seen the team lost both of their first two matches, Lloyd's first half double at least ensured it wouldn't be three defeats in a row. After a hat-trick last week, Christine Sinclair was kept off the score sheet for Thorns, who had to rely on goals from Emily Sonnett and Tobin Heath to tie the game share the points.

Reign FC are also still looking for a win after being soundly beaten by Chicago Red Stars, who picked up their first three points of the season to move third in the standings. Seemingly thriving on the momentum of securing a late 4-4 draw in their last game, Chicago took an early lead through Casey Short, before Yuki Nagasato, and Brooke Elby made it 3-0 in the second half.

USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and Australian international Sam Kerr both celebrated making their 100th NWSL appearance in the game.

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