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Wednesday night’s match between the North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit was hyped up as a potential NWSL Challenge Cup final preview. And for the first 15 minutes or so, it looked like living up to the hype. But the Courage took control after that, and at halftime, showed off just how large the gap is between it and the rest of the league.
North Carolina was well in control with a lot of backups in. At the half, three world class subs entered — Sam Mewis, Crystal Dunn, and Denise O’Sullivan. Washington was comfortably outclassed after that, with the Courage comfortably winning, 2-0.
After the game, my colleague Claire Watkins joked that the rosters of the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns needed to join forces to take North Carolina down.
The Red Thorns is the fusion Portland and Chicago must agree to to bring North Carolina down— Claire Watkins (@ScoutRipley) July 2, 2020
But here’s the crazy thing... I don’t think a combined Thorns-Red Stars starting XI is better than the Courage’s best lineup.
Here’s my best Red Thorns lineup, assuming full fitness and availability for all players. I do not think this team is better than the North Carolina Courage.
After putting together a ton of combinations, I came to the conclusion that I think North Carolina’s best XI is better than one that I can make with any other two teams put together. But one did come close — Red Stars and the Orlando Pride.
Friends, I give you... The Pride Stars.
What two squads would you put together to take down North Carolina, and what would your starting lineup look like? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter.