The Houston Dash welcomed Tigres Femenil to Houston this weekend, and then promptly dismantled their guests 5-1 at the BBVA Stadium. Despite the decidedly pro-Tigres crowd, Houston played a smart game, absorbing pressure before capitalizing on mistakes in a flurry of goals that all but put the game out of reach a half an hour in.
Tigres did well early on, pressing the Dash and forcing them to make mistakes and turnovers in their own end. Tigres looked composed on the ball and well in control, while Houston looked back on their heels. When Houston looked like they were going to get opportunities, they were quickly and correctly whistled offside. The Dash got their first chance in the 17th when Vasali played Latsko in the box past the defense and onside. Latsko fired, but right into Ceci Santiago. A minute later Latsko drove down the field on the right, but her cross was well played by Santiago. These series swung the momentum toward the Dash. In the 19th, a corner kick was Tigres undoing. Latsko hit a header that Santiago did well to save, but the ball fell to Bri Visalli, who rifled it into the back of the net.
The Dash didn’t let up, and in the 23rd Latsko shot one off of the crossbar. The rebound made it’s way to Makamae Gomera-Stevens, who made a move to get free and shot far post to double Houston’s lead.
Tigres was able to settle things down briefly, regaining some of the possession and making forays into the Houston end again. But the Dash were able to counter, with Nichelle Prince winning the ball, beating the defender in a two-on-one, and hitting a shot along the ground into the far corner to make it 3-0 at the half-hour mark.
Tigres kept going though. In the 34th Belén Cruz hitting a long shot that Lindsey Harris got to easily. They did well to keep possession and push forward, however the actual chances created were few and far between. Defensively they played smarter, getting back into position to make stops and clog up passing lanes when threatened.
At the start of the second half, Tigres got a good opportunity in the opening minutes when Jackie Ovalle drove in and hit a cross that Harris parried out for a corner. But a mistake by Tigres created another goal for Houston. A bad backpass by 17 went straight to Latsko, who hit a shot that deflected off of Greta Espinoza and past Santiago to make it 4-0.
In the 54th a bad backpass by the Dash lead to a chance for Tigres, but Harris was able to get to the ball and smother it, much to the protestations of the Tigres bench, upset that the last player to touch it was a Dash player. Makame Gomera-Stevens made it 5-0 when she was the recipient of a pass in the box by Veronica Latsko.
A scary moment in the 61st when Shea Groom caught Nayeli Rangel in the face with a flying kick. Groom also went down hard, and both players needed attention from the medical staff. Both players were able to get up and continue, Groom with a yellow card for her tackle. In the 66th Groom went in and got a shot that went straight in Santiago. Then at the other end Jackie Ovalle made a good run down the left, hitting a shot that went wide of the far post.
The game was all but settled in the 77th minute when Christine Nairn was subbed off, beginning her retirement. The crowd and her teammates gave he an ovation. In the 80th minute, a great run on the left by Jackie Ovalle allowed her some space to hit a cross into Katty Martínez. Martínez headed the ball down and past Amanda Dennis to give Tigres a late consolation goal.
Then in the 83rd Fer Elizondo hit a shot from distance that Dennis made a good save on to preserve the margin. In the 89th it looked like Ovalle was played in but was whistled offside. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference, as there was no stoppage time and Houston were deserved winners. The Dash head to Louisville to face Racing Louisville on Sunday, September 26 while Tigres heads home to host Club Tijuana on Monday, September 27th.
Houston Dash: Lindsey Harris (Amanda Dennis, ); Allysha Champan (Annika Schmidt, 71’), Katie Naughton, Megan Oyster, Haley Hanson; Sophie Schmidt (Hannah Díaz, 89’), Makamae Gomera-Stevens (Shea Groom, 60’), Christine Nairn (Maegan Rosa, 77’), Briana Visalli (Jasmyne Spencer, 60’); Nichelle Prince (Jamia Fields, 71’), Veronica Latsko (Michaela Abam, 71’)
Our Starting XI in tonight's international friendly ⤵️#HoldItDown— Houston Dash (@HoustonDash) September 19, 2021
Tigres Femenil: Cecilia Santiago; Bianca Sierra, Nayeli Rangel, Greta Espinoza, Natalia Villarreal; Liliana Mercado, Stefany Ferrer (Fer Elizondo, 72’); Belén Cruz (Miriam García, 85’), Katty Martínez, Jackie Ovalle; Stephany Mayor
Scoring: Houston Dash - Briana Visalli (19’), Makamae Gomera-Stevens (23’, 59’), Nichelle Prince (30’), Veronica Latsko (50’); Tigres Femenil - Katty Martínez (81’)
Disciplinary: Houston Dash - Briana Visalli (Yellow -43’), Shea Groom (Yellow - 62’); Tigres Femenil - None