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Pauw, players not satisfied with drawing 1-1 on Sunday

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Houston Dash rookie forward Kimberly Keever scores in NWSL debut, but final minutes of game spoil season opener.

Houston Dash rookie forward Kimberly Keever scores in her NWSL debut during a 1-1 draw at BBVACompass Stadium on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
Mike Kiel

Chicago Red Stars Taylor Comeau spoiled the Houston Dash season opener with a goal in the 91st minute of play salvaging a 1-1 draw. The third year pro headed home a corner kick that dulled an otherwise stirring performance by the Dash.

“What shall I say? We did it to ourselves,” said Houston Dash head coach Vera Pauw. “I think the players executed the game plan really well up to the last phase of the game. Somehow, there was a panic. It was a bit of shame because we were in control the whole game. We were organized even when they went up with two strikers. We started making unnecessary fouls, which put pressure on us.”

The forward combo of Savannah Jordan in just her third NWSL game and first professional start sent a ball into the box that found rookie forward Kimberly Keever for her first professional goal in her NWSL debut. The 38th minute goal capitalized a push by the Dash as they took control of the match.

“Savannah (Jordan) did a great job getting wide for her shot,” explained the 12th overall pick of the 2018 NWSL draft. “I ended up being at the right place at the right time.”

With just nine returning members from last season, the Dash looked liked a team that had taken on the persona of Kito, the Houston Zoo cheetah that had visited the home team’s practice six days earlier.

“Cheetahs have teamwork values that they work for each other. If we’re open then we go for it. A cheetah is only running when they have to run. In the game plan that we have, that’s what they did. They were not running around, unstructured. There was a plan behind it. I think that was fantastic. I think the cheetah will be with us this season,” concluded Pauw.

Aside from the final two frenzied minutes of regulation, the second half belonged to the Dash. They peppered Chicago keeper Alyssa Naeher with five more shots (12 total) including near goals by Nichelle Prince on for Keever in the 50th and 58th minute. In the 47th Shim finds Latsko unmarked inside the box! The forward attempts to get a shot off but Naeher is there to block her effort.

Comeau’s goal, thirteen seconds into stoppage time, spoiled an otherwise bright start to Houston’s fifth season of NWSL play.

“We can be happy with how things went, but we can’t be happy about dropping those two points, especially that late in the game,” summarized Dash defender Amber Brooks following the match. “Again, it’s a good foundation to build on, but it needs to keep getting better.”