NEED TO KNOW:
Midfielder Christine Nairn played 78 minutes in her final match as a professional soccer player
Dash forwards Bri Visalli and Makamae Gomera-Stevens scored their first goals for Houston
Houston scored three goals in the first half, a first for the team
Dash return to league play on Sunday, Sept. 26 in Kentucky against Racing Louisville FC
HOUSTON – The Houston Dash honored midfielder Christine Nairn prior to her retirement with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Tigres Femenil at BBVA Stadium earlier today.
Nairn retires after appearing in 171 NWSL and international matches across all competitions over the last eight seasons, including 155 regular-season contests for Seattle Reign FC (now OL Reign), the Washington Spirit, the Orlando Pride and the Houston Dash. The midfielder played 78 minutes today in her final match as a professional soccer player.
Heavy pressure from the Dash midfield gave Houston the lead in the 20th minute. Forward Veronica Latsko won a corner kick in the 19th minute and Nairn’s corner was initially punched away by Tigres goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago, but the ball fell to Dash forward Bri Visalli for her first Dash goal.
Houston doubled their lead in the 24th minute after Latsko intercepted a ball near midfield. She hit the crossbar and Houston recovered the ball after a failed clearance at the edge of the box. Visalli played the ball to midfielder Makamae Gomera-Stevens, who dribbled past two defenders before beating the Tigres goalkeeper at the far post. Gomera-Stevens is in her rookie season with Houston and this was her first professional goal.
Forward Nichelle Prince gave Houston a 3-0 lead in the 30th minute with a brilliant individual effort. The Olympic gold medalist won the ball at midfield and dribbled the length of the field, rounding a defender and beating Santiago at the far post.
Latsko intercepted a ball intended for Greta Espinoza just inside the box in the 51st minute to give Houston a 4-0 lead. The University of Virginia product beat Santiago with a low shot to the bottom corner of the far post.
Houston scored their fifth goal of the game in the 60th minute after midfielder Sophie Schmidt found Latsko in space along the right flank. Latsko dribbled toward the touchline virtually uncontested and found Visalli near the penalty spot, the forward touched the ball away from goal for an oncoming Gomera-Stevens who found the inside of the near post for her first professional brace.
Forward Katty Martinez prevented the shutout in the 81st minute when she got on the end of a cross from Lizbeth Ovalle at the far post.
Although she didn’t score, the evening belonged to Nairn. The midfielder, who turned professional ahead of the NWSL’s inaugural season in 2013, walked off the field for the final time to a standing ovation from Dash and Tigres fans. Her teammates and coaches lined up to hug her and congratulate her on an outstanding career and wish her well as she joins the Houston Fire Department Academy on Monday morning.
The Dash return to league play on Sunday, Sept. 26 in Kentucky to face Racing Louisville for the third and final time this season. Both teams have split the first two meetings with Houston winning the last meeting 1-0 at BBVA Stadium on Aug. 29. Houston returns to BBVA Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 10 to host the North Carolina Courage.
HOU: Bri Visalli 1 (unassisted) 20
HOU: Makamae Gomera-Stevens 1 (Bri Visalli) 24
HOU: Nichelle Prince 1 (unassisted) 30
HOU: Veronica Latsko 1 (unassisted) 51
HOU: Makamae Gomera-Stevens 2 (Bri Visalli 2, Veronica Latsko) 60
TIG: Katty Abad 1 ( Lizbeth Ovalle 1) 81
Houston Dash: Lindsey Harris (Amanda Dennis 76), Haley Hanson, Katie Naughton, Megan Oyster, Allysha Chapman (Annika Schmidt 73); Sophie Schmidt (Hannah Diaz 90), Makamae Gomera-Stevens (Shea Groom 60), Christine Nairn (Maegan Rosa 78); Bri Visalli (Jasmyne Spencer 60), Nichelle Prince (Jamia Fields 72), Veronica Latsko (Michaela Abam 72)
Unused substitutes: N/A
Total shots: 11; Shots on goal: 8; Fouls: 16; Offside: 6; Corner kicks: 1; Saves: 2
Tigres Femenil: Cecilia Santiago; Bianca Elissa Sierra Garcia, Lydia Mercado Fuentes, Greta Espinoza, Natalia Villarreal Pardo; Liliana Mercado Fuentes, Sandra Stephany Mayor Gutierrez, Stephanie Ferrer (Maria Fernandez Elizondo 73), Belen de Jesus Cruz Arzate (Miriam Garcia Munoz 84), Katty Martinez Abad
Unused substitutes: Ofelia Solis Garza, Azucena Montserrat Martinez, Natalia Miramontes Lira, Yenifer Britany Garcia, Michelle Ruiz
Total shots: 5; Shots on goal: 3; Fouls: 8; Offside: 2; Corner kicks: 5; Saves: 3
HOU: Bri Visalli (caution, foul) 44′
HOU: Shea Groom (caution, foul) 65′
Referee: Alyssa Nichols
Assistant Referee: Jennifer Garner
Assistant Referee: Tiffini Turpin
Fourth Official: Alexandra Theriot
Weather: 88 degrees, partly cloudy