With Kool and The Gang’s 1980 hit song “Celebration” blaring through the PA system, the Houston Dash celebrated their first ever win over the Seattle Reign on Wednesday. Dash forward Veronica Latsko’s third goal of the season with less than a minute to play in second half stoppage time gave Houston a 2-1 win over the the team from the Pacific Northwest and its first home win of 2018. The victory marked the second time in the last five games, Houston secured a win in heart-stopping fashion.
Head coach Vera Pauw’s team is now 2-2-1 in its last five outings. Her team has now begun to take on the characteristics of the cheetah she brought to Media Day back in March. Like the cheetah, the team picked its moments to pounce.
“The first half we realized that we were not good.,” said Pauw about her team’s resiliency. “The organization was okay. They did not create a lot, we did not press forward on the ball. In the second half, they did the opposite. So, it’s also good to know and to feel that when things are not turning to our side that players are coachable and that they can lift themselves to another level. We’ve shown that already a few times and that is part of being a young squad, but it is especially quality of this squad. They can step up when we stick together and when we repeat what we wanted to do and when we put pressure on that they can step up and that is a very good feeling because that is necessary to grow.”
Trailing 1-0 since the 13th minute, the Dash found the equalizer in the 68th minute. Defender Alyssa Chapman intercepted a pass sending it to Nichelle Prince in the offensive third. Seattle Reign’s Kristen McNabb drew a yellow card pulling down Prince and setting up tying goal. Rachel Daly sent a ball towards the far post finding Kristi Mewis. The header beat Seattle keeper Michelle Betos inside the near post.
Over the next ten minutes, Houston managed five more shots before the game was sent to stoppage time. In the first minute of stoppage, a Megan Rapinoe deflected shot clanged off the far post and Houston began its counter. Thembi Kgatlana gathered in a pass streaking towards the center of the 18 yard line before delivering a perfectly timed pass to Latsko. The Venetia, Pennsylvania native’s one timer clanged off the inside of the far post proving what a difference a few inches can make.
“It’s so exciting; it doesn’t feel real,” said Latsko about her goal. “At the moment people keep reminding me that we won and that I scored, and I was like, ‘oh my God, I can’t believe it.’ I am glad that I can help my team in any way I can.”
Campbell kept the team in it early as Houston struggled to keep possession and then late as Seattle as Seattle came up with seven shots in the final seven minutes of play.
Beverly Yanez scored her third goal of the season in the 13th minute giving Seattle a 1-0 lead.
Houston (2-4-4), sitting two points out of the fourth playoff spot, returns to action on Sunday May 27th at BBVA Compass Stadium against the visiting Washington Spirit.