Houston — The Houston Dash home opener had a bittersweet ending. The home team opened the scoring, then conceded goal in the second half, then made a huge penalty save during stoppage time to close the night 1-1 against Reign FC.
” I am actually a bitterly disappointed that we didn’t win. I felt that we created chances enough chances, enough open plays to get the win, but when it’s a one nil game there’s always that danger if you don’t get the second goal,” said Dash head coach James Clarkson after the game.
In the 10th minute, things started to tilt in favor of the home team. Dash forward Nichelle Prince caught Reign defender Theresa Nielsen off guard and stole the ball. Without blinking, she crossed the ball into the net for the first Dash goal of the season and a 1-0 lead that they took into halftime.
Houston (0-0-1, 1 point) wanted to set the tone for the rest of the season Sunday, when it kicked off its sixth National Women’s Soccer League season with a new coach for the second consecutive season. And the local team showed dominance on their turf in the first 45 minutes, holding 56% of possession. Meanwhile, the visiting team seemed lost in the midfield and took only one shot on goal.
“I am very proud of the team and the efforts of the team and the efforts they put forth”, said Clarkson. “We want to be trying to put other teams under pressure. We had a lot of pace and creativity going forward so the more we can move the ball forward the more it’s going to help us. It’s great to create these challenges and hopefully, we can continue to do it.”
The halftime rest seemed to help the Reign (0-0-1, 1 point) regroup. The Reign came back on the field for the second half with a visible urge to tie up the score and an aggressive attack, charging up the field to rattle off shots.
The pressure exerted by the Reign paid off with an equalizer in the 58th minute, when Reign forward Darian Jenkins received a ball from Jodie Taylor, cut inside and rifled a shot that deflected off a defender and past Dash goalie Jane Campbell.
— NWSL (@NWSL) April 14, 2019
Minutes before the game was set to end, referee Karen Abt called a penalty in favor of Reign FC when Campbell tripped up Taylor in the box, leaving the announced 4,335 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium scratching their heads.
Taylor took the penalty shot for the Reign, but she sent the ball straight down the middle for Campbell to save her team from defeat.
” My first thought was ‘man Jodie is going to bang this home’ shes a class player and there were 10 seconds left in the game I think and I goofed it up for the whole team.I just my best to get a good read on it and thankfully I did.” said Dash goalie Campbell.
“Happy we ended up with a tie instead of with a loss, and again I’ll take the mistake and I apologized to my team because that doesn’t be happening.”
— Backline Soccer (@BacklineSoccer) April 15, 2019
Dash will hit the road to New Jersey next for a Saturday match against Sky Blue FC.
“I think that with the midfield we have right now, we are much more dynamic and they are comfortable receiving the ball and we can build out of the back and I think is something we can build upon,” said Dynamo defensive player Amber Brook.
“The first game is over, the jitters, the nervous I think you can kinda see a little bit of a new Dash identity.”
This is an early recap. Check back for updates, quotes and highlights.