The NWSL Challenge Cup is up and running.
All teams have got their season started, with the second round of matches being concluded today.
We will face Sky Blue at 5.30pm (BST) for a chance to go second in the table, before Houston Dash take on OL Reign FC.
All games are streamed for free on Twitch for international viewers.
Our opener against the Dash ended up being the game of the tournament so far, well from a spectator’s standpoint anyway.
It wasn’t the greatest start to our defensive record, that we have so diligently protected up to now.
Our initial 1-0 lead, that we deservedly earned midway through the first half, was cancelled out just before half-time and was further compounded by an early goal in the opening few minutes of the second period.
It would be fair to say that both were caused through a catalogue of errors and misjudgments, and whilst that might be expected in the first competitive match after so long, it is by no means excusable and Houston certainly capitalised.
England Forward, Rachel Daly, only managed two shots on the day, but it was enough to give her side a 2-1 lead, before Shea Groom made it 3-1 just after the hour mark.
An uphill battle that the club has never previously managed to overturn, furthermore last season we never earned a single point after going a goal behind.
However, the unity in the team has certainly grown over the past few months and the feeling in the moment certainly seemed that we still had a chance to get back in the game.
Perhaps it can even be considered one of the few positives from the strict parameters that have been set due to the virus pandemic, as the team dynamic has definitely felt increasingly better as we have approached competitive football again.
Indeed, the action wasn’t finished. Vero Boquete certainly knows how to perform in big matches, and the former Champion’s League winner scored directly from a free-kick in the 81st minute before setting up debutant Tziarra King for a late equalizer in the 89th.
The feelings after the game were mixed. There was certainly relief to get something from the game after the position we left ourselves in, however the dominance in the first half and the sloppy goals that we conceded had me feeling frustrated not to get more out of it.
In saying that, now is a good time to see these mistakes and correct them before the competition heats up.
Adding to that, temperatures are set to be above 34 degrees for the foreseeable and so squad depth and managing players will likely play a vital role in whoever comes out on top.
Next week will see the conclusion of the placing matches with two more ties for each team before the knock-out phase begins.
As things stand, only North Carolina Courage maintain an unblemished record, with two opening wins.