The Houston Dash and Utah Royals FC battled to 3-3 draw Tuesday afternoon in what proved to be an attacking clinic from both sides. A Rachel Daly brace from Houston’s star striker was primed to steal the headlines until rookie forward Tziarra King scored a header off the bench in the 89th minute.
King, the number eight overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, scored on her professional debut in what is sure to be a dream start for the NC State graduate.
Royals midfielder Veronica Boquete, already with a set piece goal just seven minutes earlier to make the scoreline 3-2, served a free kick into the box where King was able to score from just a few yards out. The goal signified a two-goal comeback in a game with many lead changes.
After Utah veteran Diana Matheson opened the scoring, Daly reversed the narrative by scoring directly before and after halftime to put herself in the Golden Boot conversation.
Controversy erupted in the 60th minute as Daly’s potential hat trick was called back by the referee for goalkeeper interference. The Dash striker blocked goalkeeper Abby Smith’s punt, and dribbled by her to slot home her third goal. Daly likely argued that Smith dropped the ball before kicking, similar to a dropkick, making Daly’s block legal.
Regardless, Shea Groom finished a powerful shot in the 67th minute to beat the keeper for her first goal of the Challenge Cup, and give Houston a 3-1 lead.
The six goal explosion is the highest scoring match of the tournament so far.
U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kelley O’Hara was an injury absence for Utah. Christen Press withdrew from the Royal’s roster for the tournament due to COVID-19 precautionary efforts.
Both teams finish the match with one point and sit tied for 3rd in the standings. Utah’s next match is against Sky Blue FC, while Houston will play OL Reign. Both games will take place on July 1st, and can be watched on CBS All Access.