Veronica Latsko has waited a long time for this moment. The 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup will see her back in orange after the Dash forward missed almost the entirety of the 2019 season with an ACL tear.
Latsko was a natural choice for the Dash in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. The Pennsylvania native was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, and won three consecutive state championships. While at the University of Virginia, Latsko was an All-ACC first team selection in her senior year and led the team in total points (goals + assists). She tallied 26 goals and 14 assists in her four years there. Coming out of college, Latsko was the selected in the third round (28th pick overall) in the 2018 NWSL College Draft.
After a successful rookie season, Latsko travelled to Australia to join W-League side Adelaide. She tied for the league’s second top scorer in 2018 with 9 goals, bested by legend Sam Kerr. After seeing minutes in only four NWSL games before injury last May, Latsko made her way through rehab and back onto the pitch for the 2019 W-League season with Sydney FC this past December. She credits the support of the Dash coaching staff and her teammates, especially fellow ACL tear sufferer Kristie Mewis, with keeping her spirits up during the long process. Even though she was sidelined rehabbing her knee for eight months, Latsko said it felt like she had never left the pitch. She started in eight games for Sydney FC, registered an 83% tackle success rate, completed 70% of her passes, and scored three goals in ten matches – a successful return to football. The team made it to the Grand Final before losing to Melbourne City.
Latsko could provide the spark off the bench that the Dash need to improve upon last year’s 7th place finish and move into the latter rounds of the Challenge Cup. In 2019, the Dash scored only 21 goals in 24 games. But Latsko has a nose for goal, and for dramatics. In her Senior season at UVA, Latsko scored eight goals, but five were game-winners. In her rookie season with the Dash, she repeated that feat twice, scoring the game-winning goal against Sky Blue FC and Seattle Reign, and added two more goals and two assists on the season. The Dash struggled offensively last season, with Rachel Daly often left up top and lacking any support. But head coach James Clarkson made moves in the offseason, adding forward Katie Stengel from the Royals and midfielder Shea Groom from the Reign. Following her solid play in the W-League this past season, Latsko will look to help the Dash find the back of the net and take the pressure off the defense and standout goalkeeper Jane Campbell.
By Nikki Flores