Athenians v Aces Recap

(If you’d like to watch the match either instead of or in addition to this recap, you can do so here.)

San Antonio Athenians SC was excited to begin life in United Women’s Soccer on Saturday night, but the Houston Aces had no sympathy as they spoiled the season and home opener 5-0 at the Cibolo Multi-Event Center.

Houston showed why they are the reigning UWS champions, but the Athenians did themselves no favors either as they struggled to find any rhythm until the match was already beyond them.

The Athenians were on the back foot for most of the match and avoided conceding a couple times early but finally caved in the 22nd minute. Following a foul just outside the box, Natalia Ariza lifted a free kick above the wall as well as the reach of goalkeeper Michelle Cole to give the Aces a deserved lead.

Image: Mike Check

Houston made it 2-0 off of a corner kick just three minutes later as Blair Lane rose to authoritatively head the ball in without much trouble. For the second time, the Athenians were bested on a set piece.

Things calmed down a bit until the 42nd minute when the Aces punished San Antonio for a poor backpass. Cole came out for the ball but Lauren Hughes got to it first and rolled it into the open net.

Image: Ginny Check

The Aces continued to find success in the second half, particularly up the right flank. A ball across the face of goal from the right was initially parried but fell right to Tatiana Ariza just a few yards out and she made no mistake, setting her feet straight and firing into the bottom left corner.

Hughes got her second goal of the match in the 66th minute and finished off the drubbing as she dribbled forward on the right side of the box and finished the chance herself from a tight angle, sneaking it into the opposite corner.

Despite struggling to string more than a few passes together in the first half, the Athenians did have a few good chances in the second. A free kick from about where the Aces scored their first goal stung the goalkeeper’s gloves before the follow-up was handled in the goalmouth, giving the Athenians a penalty kick, but Megan Wilcox fired that wide left.

The Athenians will host their second UWS match in a week’s time when FC Austin Elite comes to town. The Athenians previously defeated FC Austin Elite 2-1 away and 4-1 at home in the 2017 Women’s Premier Soccer League season.

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