Seattle Reign FC began their two-matches-on-the-road week in Houston, taking on the Houston Dash. The midweek fixture saw some rotation to the starting eleven, as Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski alluded to after last Saturday’s match. Notable in tonight’s eleven was Elizabeth Addo getting her first start of the 2018, replacing Jess Fishlock, Beverly Yanez moving up to start in place of Megan Rapinoe, and Michelle Betos replacing Lydia Williams in goal.
Entering tonight, Seattle was perfect against Houston. Ten matches, 10 wins. One can argue it could have been a guarantee in life along with death and taxes, and it looked that way in the first half.
Forward Beverly Yanez opened the scoring in the 13th minute when a ball from midfielder Allie Long found forward Jodie Taylor, who split Houston’s defense which allowed her to dump off to Yanez and finish for the goal. It looked to be that Seattle was en route to their 11th win as they controlled most of the first half because of their high pressure right from the start. Houston at times looked lost and unable to connect two passes.
And then the second half happened.
When Megan Rapinoe entered the match as a halftime sub, one would figure Seattle was going to not only continue the pressure, but emphatically hammer in a second or third goal and put it to rest. However, Seattle’s second half was the complete opposite of what a team coached by Vlatko Andonovski ought to look like.
Seattle looked as bad in that second half as good as Houston Dash looked in it. Credit head coach Vera Pauw and her staff. Whatever talk and adjustments they made during the halftime break, it worked. Dash looked energized and fresh. Houston equalized in the 68th minute when a Rachel Daly free kick wasn’t cleared in the box and Kristie Mewis was in the right place, right time to pounce on it to find the back of the net.
Houston’s match winner wouldn’t come until the final stages of stoppage time when Veronica Latsko’s shot deflected off defender Stephanie Catley and into Seattle’s net for the match-winner, and for the first time, lose to Houston Dash, 2-1.
It may have been the same back four in defense from Saturday’s scoreless draw against Chicago Red Stars, but they looked disorganized in the second half, defensively and when linking up with the midfield. And the chances Seattle had in Houston’s defensive third were squandered big time. We know Jodie Taylor can finish, but tonight her shot selection was just not there when it could and should have put the match to bed. Yes, Rapinoe entered the match and was doing her usual awesome Megan Rapinoe things, but Houston had a plan to limit her in just being a facilitator rather than a one-woman wrecking crew.
This should have been Seattle’s second goal...
...or this one.
Yet Seattle had a chance to steal the win in in the 90th minute.
These are chances we know someone of Taylor’s caliber can finish. And it wasn’t a case of Seattle Reign FC finally losing to Houston Dash because of one player. It was a second half where the team collectively fell apart that for sure is frustrating and a head-scratcher to the players, the coaches, and the fans. It can be one of those nightmare halves where they’ll reflect upon it and swear they will never play like that ever again. It was definitely a Jekyll & Hyde performance that you hope is just an aberration.
Next up for Seattle Reign FC is heading up to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Sky Blue FC on Saturday. The match is scheduled for kickoff at 4 PM PST and will be broadcast on go90.