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Excitement from start to finish

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Excitement from start to finish

SAN JOSE —  When Deyna Castellanos hammered a shot off the inside of the post and watched, along with 18,000 others at PayPal Park, as it rattled around the back of the net, a new era in women’s soccer was born.

After a 14-year hiatus, women’s professional soccer returned to the Bay Area on Saturday night, as Bay FC showed off its electric style of play in front of a sellout crowd that couldn’t get enough.

In a back-and-forth game that featured nonstop action, Bay FC fought until the end but lost a heartbreaker to the Houston Dash, 3-2.

Nevertheless, it was a game that won’t be forgotten.

The club’s journey began last April, when former United States Women’s National Team legends Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner announced a new expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer Team that was bringing the sport back to the Bay Area.

Less than one year later, Bay FC took the field in front of an energized crowd that packed PayPal Park to the brim and only seemed to get louder as the night went on.

The first 20 minutes were surely better than any of the Founding Four could’ve dreamed of, as Bay FC dominated Houston with 60% of the possession and a smothering style of defense.

In the 12th minute, the crowd was steaming with enough anticipation to boil a tea kettle after Alex Loerra skimmed a shot just over the crossbar.

In the 19th minute, Bay FC and the fans were rewarded when Scarlett Camberos beat her defender on the left wing and played a dangerous cross into the box, where Asisat Oshoala found it and fired a quick shot that was deflected to Castellanos. The 24-year-old former Manchester City star quickly fired it into the top left corner for the first home goal in Bay FC history.

The picture-perfect start for Bay FC continued throughout the rest of the first half, as coach Albertin Montoya utilized a high press to create constant turnovers and maintain pressure for a full 45 minutes. Bay FC finished the half with nearly 60% possession while winning in corner kicks, 3-0, crosses, 8-2, and duels, 32-23.

But for all the beauty of the first half, Bay FC looked like a tired team for most of the second.

Their formation, with two center-attacking midfielders and three forwards pushing high up the pitch, created too many counter-attacking chances for Houston, which finally capitalized in the 66th minute.

Two midfielders were late to recover after a turnover around midfield as Houston connected on a cross into the box and Diana Ordonez headed it into the corner.

Another breakdown created a quick opportunity for Houston in the 87th minute, when another cross into the box deflected off the hand of Bay FC defender Savy King.

After a brief review, the referee ruled for a penalty kick. Ordonez fired to the bottom left corner and goalie Lysianne Proulx made a stunning save, but Ordonez put away her own rebound as Houston took a 2-1 lead with only minutes remaining.



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