The Houston Dash continued their preseason on Wednesday night with a 5-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo Academy U-16 team at Houston Sports Park.
The Dash struggled once again with the size and speed of the Academy players, and the Academy were able to convert more of their chances after a 2-0 win the week prior.
Kealia Ohai gave the Dash a bright start, however, in the sixth minute as she collected a turnover in the Academy half and beat a defender to put a cross in across the box. The pass found forward Stephanie Roche, who controlled the pass and got away a left-footed shot that was caught by the goalkeeper. Roche, an Irish international, started in her first game appearance for the Dash since joining the team in training last Saturday.
The Academy retaliated quickly as Christian Molina beat defenders down the right side of the Dash penalty area and sqaured a pass across goal. Alejandro Saez, posted up in front of goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, flicked the ball on with a backheel and into the net for the opening score in the 11th minute.
The lead stretched to two goals with a bit of unfortunate luck from the Dash in the 19th minute, as a Henninger clearance attempt ricocheted off an Academy player and back into her own net. Five minutes later, Jordi Cobo raced down the right side and placed an angled shot off the far post and into the goal.
Gianluca Natera completed the first half scoring in the 34th minute as he gained a step at the edge of the box and curled a shot with the outside of his boot past a diving Henninger.
The Dash came out of the gates in the second half with more offensive gusto as the game opened up and players found more space. Midfielder Jordan Jackson nearly put the Dash on the scoreboard in the 47th minute as a bouncing ball 18 yards from goal fell to her, but her half-volley attempt clattered off the crossbar. The rebound fell to trialist Allie Bailey, but she wasn't able to control the second effort on frame.
Substitute goalkeeper Megan Kinneman did well to keep the scoreline as it was for much of the second half, making two superb diving saves in the 58th and 65th minute. The later was a reaction save from 15 yards out as she tipped the shot off the post at full stretch.
The Academy did add a fifth goal in the 73rd minute on a counter attack down the right side. A cross came in from the flank across the penalty area to Natera, who had an open net to tap home the final goal of the night.
The Dash continued to push for a goal until the end, with Roche springing Bailey into the open field with a flick-on through ball at midfield. Bailey could only win a corner kick, which Jordan O'Brien knocked down for Jackson, but her attempt ended over the crossbar.
The Dash take on their first female team this preseason on Sunday as they welcome the University of Texas to Houston Sports Park at 2 p.m. The scrimmage is free and open to the public.
Houston Dash vs. Houston Dynamo Academy U-16
March 25, 2015 — Houston Sports Park, Houston, TX
Academy: Alejandro Saez (Christian Molina) 11
Academy: Gianluca Natera (unassisted) 19
Academy: Jordi Cobo (unassisted) 24
Academy: Gianluca Natera (unassisted) 34
Academy: Gianluca Natera (Jordi Cobo) 73
First half: Bianca Henninger; Ella Masar, Shanna Hudson*, Carleigh Williams, Yadira Toraya*; Ashley Nick, Rachael Axon; Melissa Henderson, Cami Previtt*, Kealia Ohai; Stephanie Ochs
Second half: Megan Kinneman*; Jen LaPonte*, Carleigh Williams, Arin King* (Shanna Hudson 83), Jazmyne Avant*; Jordan O'Brien*, Lauren Silver*; Tiffany McCarty, Jordan Jackson, Allie Bailey*; Megan Cushing* (Stephanie Roche 77)
Houston Dynamo Academy U-16
First half starters: Trevor Kallendorf; Cameron Walker, Quayyum Murana, Robert Frusina, Cole Hill; Christian Molina, Ryan Guajardo, Gabriel Ruiz; Jordi Cobo, Alejandro Saez, Gianluca Natera
Second half starters: Charles Filby; Daniel Shahim, Christian Nelson, Robert Frusina, Cole Hill; Christian Molina, Ryan Guajardo, Soto; Jordi Cobo, Vieri Joya, Gianluca Natera
Academy: Gabriel Ruiz (caution) 44