I should retitle this to the WoSo week in review and just talk about Team USA all article long but as great as Megan Rapinoe and company were, it is important that we touch on the ladies in our backyard. The Houston Dash and the rest of the NWSL are truly capitalizing on the attention that women’s soccer is getting right now. From merchandise sales to social media engagements to parades, it is a great time to be a fan of women’s soccer.
Dash played at home last Saturday after a rain delay that started the game late in the evening, but still was welcomed by a nice sized crowd for Kealia Ohai’s 100th appearance.
First half saw many chances for both sides to get a goal. Ohai seemed to be everywhere as she had multiple crosses into the box and a shot. Christine Nairn fired off a shot in the 14th minute that gave the Dash their best chance at goal in the first. That shot seemed to deflect off of Kirstie Mewis right on goal but a good save by Portland goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom kept it even.
Dash finally got on the board after halftime with a goal off a free kick in the 51st minute. A beautiful free kick from Nairn landed right on the foot of substitute Kyah Simon who nudged it just enough for it to cross the line and all was well in Houston.
The fun didn’t last too long as Portland got on board in the 70th minute with an absolute gem of a strike from Tyler Lussi. Lussi fired the shot off of her left foot from about 25 yards out right inside the right post where Houston keeper Jane Campbell could not reach. This amazing goal earned her NWSL Goal of the Week honors.
Before we could all catch our breaths from that goal, Portland took the lead after with a goal in the 75th minute. After a failed chance to head the ball away by the Houston defense, Portland’s Margaret Purce took the ball in the box and fired a shot to the back of the net to put the Thorns up two to one.
That goal would be the difference as Houston’s inability to keep up the intensity after gaining the lead proved to be the team’s downfall as the Dash suffered their third home loss of the season.
Hoping to recover from the loss, the Dash traveled to Cary, NC to play the North Carolina Courage. With the Dash getting the canadians back from the World Cup, there was hope that there’d be a way to end the snide, unfortunately that was not the case.
The Courage came out ferociously with a breakaway shot opportunity just 15 seconds into the game! Jane Campbell was able to make a good play on the ball but that was just the beginning of her long day. Kristen Hamilton was the first to get on the board for the Courage in the 5th minute after a cross from Texas A&M grad Merritt Mathias made its way past multiple Dash defenders onto Hamilton’s boot into the goal.
Unfortunately, Hamilton was just getting started as she got another one to go in at the 18th minute. She used her speed on the wing to push the ball forward before cutting back and firing a laser to the back of the net on the opposite side, an absolutely brilliant goal.
Houston finally got on the board in the 24th minute with a cross in the box from Simon onto the foot of Mewis. Mewis, using her left foot, was able to tap it in right past the goalkeeper to keep the visiting Dash in the game.
The Courage took control once again in the 31st minute after a failed clear was blocked and gathered by Lynn Williams. Williams then jetted past the Dash backline and shot the ball past Campbell.
The game still remained close with a momentum killing Dash goal right before halftime. Kyah Simon sped past two defenders to take in the cross and then proceeded to use her speed to gain separation and fire a shot right between the keeper and the right goalpost.
What was a truly exciting game by halftime turned to despair afterwards as Hamilton took over to close out the game. Hamilton’s third goal of the night and fourth Courage goal was a dazzling display of footwork that had Allysha Chapman on the ground. After receiving the pass in the box and backing Chapman down, Hamilton turned into Diego Maradona to escaped Chapman and put the ball in the back of the net.
Hamilton would indeed score one more to push the lead to three and end the game for all parties. Five goals is the most this Houston Dash team team has given up since.......last year in North Carolina against the Courage. Houston has now in a tough six-game winless streak but there’s a good chance for the Dash to regain some confidence and help their place in the standings as the Chicago Red Stars are coming to town and they are just one place up on the Dash in the standings.
ESPN agreed to broadcast 14 NWSL games starting July 14th. Luckily the Houston Dash fans will get to watch their team in two of them: September 17th against the NC Courage and September 25th against the Washington Spirit.
This will give the average fan more opportunity to get acquainted with NWSL and women’s soccer as a whole instead of simply watching every four years.
Budweiser becomes the official beer sponsor of the NWSL
The NWSL capitalized on the success of the US Women’s National Team by finally securing a large scale beer sponsor. Budweiser, who is known to put their brand behind many large sports brands, has not only agreed to be the official beer sponsor but has put their advertising where their mouth and money is.
Budweiser took out a full page ad on the back page of the NYT’s sports section with this message: Don’t stop watching women’s soccer after the final today. Support women’s leagues, too. pic.twitter.com/d6EITFILt9— Jesus Jimenez (@jesus_jimz) July 7, 2019
Hopefully, Budweiser is just the first of many sponsors as corporations find out that it is possible to make money off of women’s sports.