COLORADO PRIDE 0, HOUSTON ACES 1
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - One squad exuberant, the other side with dampened spirits. That describes the mood after the final United Women’s Soccer (UWS) match of the weekend as the Houston Aces completed their two-game road trip with a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Pride at rain-soaked Washburn Field. With severe thunderstorms racing through the region, the teams had to return to the locker rooms on two occasions, totaling a total of over three hours of delays.
The Pride (2-1) entered the afternoon in command of the UWS West Conference after the Aces (2-3) had lost to the Colorado Storm (1-2-1) by a 2-1 score on Friday, while the Santa Clarita Blue Heat (1-0-2) and Real Salt Lake Women (1-1-1) battled to a draw in Utah on Saturday. Houston had other thoughts, applying a suffocating defense that repeatedly blocked, deflected and thwarted Pride scoring opportunities.
The visitors needed only one good scoring chance and they took advantage of it in the 29th minute. Colombian National Team player and Austin Peay grad Tatiana Ariza drilled a ball into the side netting from 25 yards out. The Aces had to endure repeated build-ups by the Pride, who outshot Houston by a 14-11 margin, but the combination of team defense and netminder Courtney Seelhorst (seven saves) were enough to earn the clean sheet. Katie Ruff made two saves in goal for the Pride.
The Houston win makes the UWS West an extremely tight race as the sides approach the midway point of the season. With Houston and Pride locked atop the table, Santa Clarita sits one point behind, Real Salt Lake are just two points back, and the Storm are three out. The Pride set their sights on Friday night’s home showdown with the Real Women, who make the two-game trek to Colorado. The Aces will travel to the Blue Heat on Saturday.
REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN 1, SANTA CLARITA BLUE HEAT 1
KAYSVILLE, UT - The rainy weather that Real Salt Lake Women encountered in their match at Houston last week seemed to follow them home. A brave crowd of supporters came out to support the hosts in their first-ever match against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat at Davis High School Stadium on Saturday night and went home with an exciting 1-1 draw. RSL was looking to carry over the momentum of a 4-1 road victory the previous week, while the Blue Heat wanted to get back into the win column after a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Storm.
The Real Women started the match strong, working up the left flank through Kira Sharp. Her combinations with Jeni Viernes and Elena Medeiros created several good shots on goal in the first half, and nearly produced an early lead for the hosts. The visitors had their share of chances as well, using good passing through the midfield to open up two great shots for their forwards which were saved by RSL goalkeeper Becca Ritchie (seven saves).
The half ended scoreless, and RSL Head Coach Mark Davis made one change to his team at the break, putting in midfielder Mariah Bullock for Viernes and Medeiros shifted to the center forward spot. In the 70th minute, a hard foul on captain Annie Hawkins led to the second substitution of the match as she was shaken up on the play, and was replaced by Brecken Mozingo.
The visitors would grab the lead in the 81st minute as a sequence of passes opened up a gap in the RSL defense, and Blue Heat forward Kassi Massey was able to finish past Ritchie for a 1-0 lead. RSL made two more late substitutions, adding Jess Vanderveur and Kim Gale at forward to push the attack and find a late equalizer. The move ultimately paid off inside the three added minutes of stoppage time as Vanderveur was brought down just inside the penalty area after getting on the end of a great pass.
Midfielder Bizzy Phillips stepped up to the spot and put away the late goal low and to the left of Blue Heat keeper JoJo McCaskill (one save) for the final 1-1 score. Santa Clarita would out-shoot the Real Women by a 15-5 margin in the match.
COLORADO STORM 2, HOUSTON ACES 1
THORNTON, CO - After two losses to start the season, the Colorado Storm built on last week’s 1-1 road draw against Santa Clarita and notched their first victory with a 2-1 home win over Houston this past Friday night. Inclement weather was the side-plot for all three UWS West games this weekend. The Storm and Aces had to wait out a brief delay to the start of the match due to lightning. The home side would strike for the first two goals of the match, weathering a late Houston rally.
Midfielder Isobel Dalton started off the scoring for the Storm in the 21st minute on an assist from Olivia Blaber. She delivered a perfect cross for Dalton to score from inside the six yard box. Dalton would assist on the eventual game-winning goal in the 81st minute by Blaber. The Storm forward dribbled around Houston keeper Courtney Seelhorst to shoot the ball into an open net.
Two minutes later, the Aces would be awarded a penalty kick after a lapse of concentration by the home side. Colombian international and University of Toledo midfielder Isabella Echeverri Restrepo would score on the spot kick for the final score of the match. Cristina Salazar would get the win in goal for the Storm, as she was substituted at the half by Jalen Tompkins.
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.
UWS is managed by EDP, a leading soccer management company that runs a number of leagues and tournaments. In addition to UWS, EDP operates youth leagues that includes an NPL league, the EDP Super Club program, the EDP Premier League and the EDP Championship League. EDP also runs EDP Futures programs for U-7’s to U-12’s and it conducts more than 20 youth tournaments, including tournaments within its EDP Cup Series and EDP Showcase Series.
Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at Press@UWSSoccer.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.