Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe joined North Carolina in February. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe helps North Carolina Courage to NWSL title

CARY, N.C. — Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe got the shutout as the North Carolina Courage beat the Chicago Red Stars 4-0 on Sunday for the their second straight National Women’s Soccer League title.

Brazil’s Debinha, Jessica McDonald, Crystal Dunn and Sam Mewis scored for the Courage, who won the NWSL Shield for the third straight year with a league-best 15-5-4 regular-season record. The Courage beat Reign FC 4-1 in extra time in the semifinals.

North Carolina outshot Chicago 20-13 (11-2 in shots on target).

Labbe joined North Carolina in February, taking over for fellow Canadian Sabrina D’Angelo who now plays in Sweden for Vittsjo GIK.

The 33-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., has won 66 caps for Canada with 31 clean sheets.

Labbe previously played for Pitea IF, KIF Orebro and Linkopings FC in Sweden and the Washington Spirit in the NWSL.

She also made headlines last year when she looked to win a job with the Calgary Foothills FC men’s team, only to be told by the Premier Development League that she couldn’t play because she was a woman.

The Red Stars had a six-game winning streak heading into the final, including a 1-0 victory over the Portland Thorns in the semifinal.

Debinha’s rebound shot got past Red Stars goal keeper Alyssa Naeher to open scoring in the fourth minute before McDonald’s header off a feed from Lynn Williams in the 26th minute. After Dunn scored in first-half stoppage time, Sam Mewis added a goal off a long ball from Abby Dahlkemper in the 61st.

It was the third time the Courage and Red Stars had met in the playoffs. The Courage also won the first two and did not give up any goals.

The game capped an eventful week for the league.

Chicago’s Sam Kerr was named the league’s Most Valuable Player for this season after scoring a record 18 goals in just 21 games. The Australian forward was absent for part of the season because of the Women’s World Cup.

It was Kerr’s second league MVP award, she also won in 2017 while with Sky Blue.

“Eighteen goals doesn’t just come from one player so thank you to my teammates. I love playing for Chicago,” Kerr said. “I love the girls, I love the team, and they allow me to be the best player I can be.”

The Reign’s Vlako Andonovski was named the league’s Coach of the Year after leading the Reign to the playoffs after a spate of injuries and the World Cup absences of several key players, including U.S. star Megan Rapinoe.

Andonovski is expected to be named the new coach of the U.S. national team at a news conference on Monday in New York. He replaces Jill Ellis, who led the United States to back-to-back World Cup titles.

The league this week also announced an expansion team in Louisville, Kentucky, to start play in 2021, as rumours swirled about additional expansion in the nine-team NWSL for next season.

A sellout crowd of 10,227 attended the championship at Sahlen’s Stadium.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More choices now available for office locations in Red Deer

Depending on size, offices can locate in different city commercial zones

Painting of slain Red Deer doctor and his family is a reminder ‘we care’

Remembering the family of the late Dr. Walter Reynolds

COVID-19: More than 1 million Albertans have been tested to date

Roughly one in four Albertans have been tested

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

David Marsden: Molly Banister extension must be kept

‘It would be a mistake to take a sensible response to future residential development off the table’

Mahomes outplays Jackson to lead Chiefs past Ravens 34-20

Mahomes outplays Jackson to lead Chiefs past Ravens 34-20

The Finals are set: LeBron, Lakers will meet Butler, Heat

The Finals are set: LeBron, Lakers will meet Butler, Heat

Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez upsets No. 31 seed at French Open

Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez upsets No. 31 seed at French Open

Blue Jays to start Shoemaker in Game 1 against Rays, Ryu on tap in Game 2

Blue Jays to start Shoemaker in Game 1 against Rays, Ryu on tap in Game 2

Canadian men drawn with rival Americans in Group B at 2021 Gold Cup

Canadian men drawn with rival Americans in Group B at 2021 Gold Cup

Adesanya defends belt, Blachowicz wins title at UFC 253

Adesanya defends belt, Blachowicz wins title at UFC 253

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Most Read