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Courage beat Sky Blue, win fourth straight in NWSL tournament

Samantha Mewis and Crystal Dunn each scored and the North Carolina Courage won their fourth straight game, beating Sky Blue 2-0 on Monday night in the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup.

The two-time league defending champions finished the group stage atop the field heading into the quarterfinals.

Mewis scored in the seventh minute for the fastest goal of the Challenge Cup so far. Dunn added her first goal of the tournament in the 57th minute. Both players were on the U.S. national team that won the World Cup last summer in France.

The Courage lead the tournament in goals scored with seven. They’ve allowed just one.

North Carolina forward Jessica McDonald came in as a sub in the 64th minute, her first appearance of the tournament. McDonald was nursing a right thigh injury.

It was the final group match of the eight-team tournament. Results of the opening stage determined seeding for the knockout round.

The league’s ninth team, the Orlando Pride, withdrew from the Challenge Cup before it started after several players tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sky Blue finished the opening stage 1-2-1 and in seventh place.

The Courage will play the winless Portland Thorns in the quarterfinals, while seventh-seeded Sky Blue will play the Washington Spirit.

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