Veronica Latsko’s first goal of 2018 proved to be the goal Houston needed to gain their first victory of the season. The Houston Dash’s 3-2 win over Sky Blue on Saturday was much more than just a win. Not only was it their first win of the season but it came on the road and under conditions that have generally resulted in a loss or draw. With four losses and a draw in their last five road outings and coming off of a lethargic home loss, no one would have been surprised to see the Houston Dash limping home from the East coast draw. Instead Houston will be riding a wave of momentum come Wednesday night’s match against Portland.
Houston could have closed up shop and played for the draw after Katie Johnson’s goal in the 73rd minute leveled the match at 2-2. Instead, Vera Pauw’s team did what she had been training, preparing and expecting her players to do. Early in the season, she told Houston fans that this team would take on the characteristics of a cheetah and on Saturday they returned to form.
“Short sessions with a lot of intensity” is how Pauw described their training methods back on Media Day (March 21, 2018), “demanding 100% from everybody in everything they do on the pitch.”
On Saturday, Houston had that intensity from the opening kick to the final whistle. Nichelle Prince, the young Canadian international, put Houston on the board in the 24th minute. It was the hustle of Lindsey Agnew in her first start saving a ball on the endline that led to the Prince’s tally.
Sky Blue equalized just minutes before the hour mark but Houston with tenacity and grit came back with speed of a cheetah scoring three minutes later. Rachel Daly sent a ball on goal that Sky Blue keeper Kailen Sheridan mishandled for an own goal.
Following Johnson’ second goal of the night in the 73rd minute, Houston pounced on an opportunity to retake the lead. Gathering in a long pass down the right side Thembi Kgatlana who enetered in the 76th minutes delivered a ball into the box that split the Sky Blue defense and Latsko (entering in the 71st minute) was there to put it home in the 79th minute.
Houston (1-3-2, 5 points) put themselves in a position to vault into early playoff contention with a win at home on Wednesday night. Kick-off is set for 7:00pm CDT.