The New England Mutiny fell to the Houston Aces in the first WPSL National Semifinal played at Elk Grove High School on Saturday night by a 4-1 score. Down by a 2-1 score in the 75th minute of the match, the 2013 East Conference champions were pressing the Big Sky-South Division winners for the tying goal when Houston's Jackie Acevedo notched the eventual back-breaker for her side.
The Aces would go on to add another tally in stoppage time. With the loss, the Mutiny ended their season at 8-1-5 while Houston continued their undefeated run to the WPSL National Championship game with a 12-0-0 record.
A staunch & organized squad throughout the regular season, New England began to feel the brunt of injuries to their system of play in their East Final win over ASA Chesapeake. They gave up an early goal and an own goal against the Charge and were able to recover. Not so vs. the Aces as only two minutes in, Acevedo put her team on the board by a 1-0 score.
Houston kept up their strong start, attacking the New England defense. In the 25th minute, their persistence paid off as Lauri Byrne scored to make the match 2-0 off an assist from McKenna Waitley. The Mutiny would begin to turn the tide after that score, culminating in the team's only goal of the game.
In the 35th minute, Andrea Plucenik broke down the flank and sent in a dangerous cross. Shelby Halaszwas able to control the ball and fire home her shot inside the right corner of the goal to bring her team back into the match. Now 2-1, both teams battled it out for control until the halftime whistle.
The second half ensued and New England did everything they needed to do to tie the game except score the goal. Getting corner kicks and free kicks deep in Aces territory. Frustrating their opponents to the point that they started to garner yellow cards. It was during the heart of that push that Houston pushed the dagger in with Acevedo's 75th minute tally.
Still, the Mutiny did not go down with the proverbial ship without a fight, but Aces goalkeeper Catherine Fitzsimmons stone-walled Nicole Rodriguez's quality bid on goal. In second half stoppage time, Houston added a fourth goal from Carlie Banks as New England continued to push forward.