SATURDAY, JULY 15
Houston Aces vs. Santa Clarita Blue Heat
7:30 PM CDT - Houston Sports Park
Although the conference championship has already been wrapped up, Saturday night’s contest pitting the Houston Aces (2-4 West) against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat (7-0 West) should prove to be a spirited affair - if the last two matches between the teams are any indicator. In June 2016, the Aces dealt the Blue Heat their only home loss of that season in a come-from-behind 4-3 victory. Houston scored three goals in the final 27 minutes of the match, led my forward Tatiana Ariza’s two tallies. Earlier this season, Santa Clarita hosted Houston for the second straight occasion and got a measure of revenge with a 1-0 shutout win on Saturday, June 17th.
As time ticked off the clock, Venezuelan international and Florida State University star Deyna Castellanos notched her first goal of the year on a penalty kick and Santa Clarita held on for the victory. Goalkeeper Ryann Torrero made her 2017 debut in goal for the Blue Heat, making four saves in the shutout win while Colombian international Stefany Castano made two saves for the Aces in defeat. Houston had their chances, as in the 31st minute, Ariza teamed up with Mariana Diaz Leal on a give-and-go but the Colombian international put her shot over the crossbar. In the second half, the Aces had a pair of chances of the 48th & 59th minutes before they committed a hand ball in their own penalty area in the 89th minute, opening the door for Castellanos’ game-winner.
SUNDAY, JULY 16
Houston Aces vs. So Cal Crush FC
7:30 PM CDT - Houston Sports Park
Houston will have a relatively quick turnaround in their 2017 season finale, with So Cal Crush FC (1-6 West) taking the pitch at Houston Sports Park 24 hours after Saturday night’s match vs. Santa Clarita. The Aces had an even harder hill to climb in the first matchup between the two teams this season with less than 20 hours to rejuvenate for a Sunday afternoon game at Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta, CA. The visitors bounced back from a tough 1-0 loss to the Blue Heat the day prior to notch their first win of the 2017 season in a 4-0 victory. Castano (three saves) got the win for Houston while Crush FC’s Adriana Maldonado made 12 saves in the loss.
Gisela Arrieta Betancourt was the first of four different scorers for the Aces, breaking in on goal to beat Maldonado off an assist from midfielder Megan McCashland in the 20th minute. Eight minutes later, Ariza converted on a penalty kick to make the score 2-0. Forward Stephanie Garcia broke in on goal from 25 yards out and tallied the third Aces goal in the 33rd minute. Houston put the game out of reach in the 64th minute when midfielder Mariana Diaz Leal’s cross found forward Diandra Aliaga and her header was the final goal in the 4-0 win.
About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.