Houston's Attempts Dashed: Post-Match Review of HOU vs UTA
What a game this was! From the outset, it was already exciting: in the 14th minute, Houston got a free kick (taken by Rachel Daly) perfectly put in place for Katie Stengel to score a header. Sadly for Houston but luckily for Utah, the ball was blocked by goalkeeper Abby Smith. Her fast reaction saved Utah from getting behind so early in the game.
A minute later, the first yellow card was given to Amy Rodriguez. It was the first of a total of three. No yellow cards were given in the past two games (Portland Thorns – North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit – Chicago Red Stars), but this morning, both clubs’ players were a bit aggressive.
The rest of the first half was full of chances, too: Utah’s Vero Boquete shooting the ball just over the bar, Ratcliffe got the ball in front of the goal but didn’t manage to touch it right (and nutmegged Rachel Daly whilst doing this), Houston was awarded a free-kick but the ball ended up right in Smith’s hands...
Two of those many chances were used: Diana Matheson scored in the 35th minute for Utah, assisted by Rodriguez. A tap-in, but still an important goal that kicked off the beginning of the rest of the game, where many goals would be scored. During the extra time, Houston got a goal too scored by Daly, who got assisted by Veronica Latsko.
And captain Daly didn’t rest: just two minutes into the second half, she managed to score again. Kristie Mewis took a corner which landed perfectly on Daly’s head, and so came Houston leading the game. And for a second it seemed like she would even get a hattrick... but her goal, scored by taking advantage from a mistake from Utah’s goalkeeper, was found offside by the referee (although, in my opinion, it actually should have been a goal).
A little later, Shea Groom found the back of the net. Her left foot hit the ball so hard, Smith couldn’t save it. A memorable moment for the player, for who this is her first season at the Dash. The come-back was made, Houston lead 3-1 now.
Fifteen minutes later though, in the 82nd minute, Utah took advantage from a hand-ball made by Megan Oyster (this was the second yellow card of the game). Vero shot the ball through the defenders, and Campbell dived just not fast enough to save it. Seven minutes and another yellow card (this time for Utah’s Diana Matheson) later, rookie Tziarra King found the back of the net too. A free kick taken by Vero ended up at King’s head, and she made it fly into the goal.
And so the game ended 3-3. First a goal from Utah, then Houston came back with 3 goals, but in only 8 minutes time, Utah managed to equalize again. Astonishing, if you ask me. I had expected Houston to win, seen as Utah missed two of their star players. Especially in the first half, you could see Utah struggling to break through Houston’s defence. I think the subs that came in in the second half have definitely helped them to get up and going again.
My player of the match is Rachel Daly, who scored a brace and often used her fine technique and skill to pass by Utah’s defenders. And I would like to give a special shout-out to Tziarra King, the girl who just came out of college and scored in her first game in the NWSL. I think we’ll have to keep an eye on her, she’s going to do great things in the future.
Utah Royals FC (3-5-2): Abby Smith; Gunny Jónsdóttir (Michelle Maemone 88’), Rachel Corsie, Elizabeth Ball; Katie Bowen (Kate Del Fava 62’), Lo’eau LaBonta, Vero Boquete, Diana Matheson (Madeline Nolf 88’), Raisa Strom-Okimoto (Taylor Lytle 62’); Brittany Ratcliffe (Tziarra King 69’), Amy Rodriguez. Subs not used: Nicole Barnhart, Melissa Lowder, Gaby Vincent, Holly Daugirda, Taylor Leach, Marissa Sheva, Arielle Ship, Chestley Strother.
Houston Dash: (4-3-3): Jane Campbell; Megan Oyster, Katie Naughton, Erin Simon, Allysha Chapman; Haley Hanson, Shea Groom (CeCe Kizer 80’), Kristie Mewis; Rachel Daly, Katie Stengel (Jamia Fields 80’), Veronica Latsko (Christine Nairn 68’). Subs not used: Bridgette Andrzejewski, Amanda Dennis, Lindsey Harris, Maegan Kelly, Kayla McCoy, Cami Privett, Bri Visalli.
By Emmy van Ingen
Photo Credit: Nikki Flores @ Footy Day Photos