The Houston Dash faced off against the Washington Spirit in a pivotal matchup that saw the Dash hoping to make up some ground on the team that sat two places above them in the NWSL standings at the start of the match. The Dash started the game without Meghan Klingenberg who was sidelined with a right hamstring strain or Teresa Noyola who has left Achilles tendonitis.
Just four minutes into the match Kaylyn Kyle was fouled setting up the Dash's first chance of the game. Ari Romero took the free kick, but none of the Dash players were able to get up to the ball. The Spirit defense was able to clear it away.
A few minutes later it would be Washington's chance. Erin McLeod was caught out of goal as Diana Matheson sent in a cross, slipping it behind the Dash defense and right in front of the goal. Luckily for the Dash no Spirit players were there to receive the ball and Romero came running in to clear the ball.
Nina Burger had a chance at goal getting the ball off as she went down, but the ball went past the net. Moments later Kealia Ohai came streaking down the field with the ball at her feet. Getting her shot off it went left of the net. Not done she soon sent another ball towards the net. This time goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made the save denying Ohai her second goal of the season.
It wasn't all Dash in the first half though Lisa De Vanna worked her way down the sideline and forced McLeod to make a stop with the following clearance coming from Engen. Later DeVanna once again had another shot at the net. This time DeVanna sent the ball in from distance and McLeod was forced to stretched out able to just get a hand on it. The ball was push up just enough to hit the bar as the ball came back down Jodie Taylor was there to send it in but was called offside.
Washington had trouble containing the speed of Kealia Ohai who was able to once again get around Robin Gayle this time passing the ball to Masar. Once again Harris came up big for the Spirit making the save on Masar's shot.
As the second half got underway the Spirit were able to get some time with the ball down in front of the box. Matheson attempted to cross the ball, but it was blocked by the Dash. Alex Singer then got the ball and sent in a weak cross that was easily scooped up by McLeod.
The Dash has a chance at goal in the 55th minute. Ohai once again ran by the Spirit defenders this time crossing the ball to Tiffany McCarty. McCarty backheeled the ball, but it was just wide of the net.The possession tide turned in the second half as Washington began to control the ball more and more.
Washington made a break on a counter attack with De Vanna getting the ball to Taylor. Taylor ran past Marissa Diggs and McLeod came out of the net. Taylor then chipped the ball over McLeod and into the back of the net.
The game slowed down from there as Washington was happy to sit on their lead. They also put in Crystal Dunn to replace Gayle who had been beat by Ohai repeatedly all night. Dunn was a teammate of Ohai at the University of North Carolina and they were selected numbers 1 and 2 in their years draft.
In the 86th Masar was taken down by Dunn about 30 yards out. Romero took the free kick, but the Spirit easily defended the ball out. It would be the last good chance the Dash would really have. All of the Dash's remaining chances would be shut down by the Spirit before they even got close to the net.
After the final whistle Washington would leave Houston with the win and more importantly three points. The Dash were unable to do anything with the chances they were able to create and had a hard time creating chances off of their dominate possession in the first half. This team desperately needs to find a way to score goals. They are able to get the ball and build up but can't finish with the ball in the net.
The Dash travel to play Sky Blue FC on July 2 and then return home to play the Western New York Flash on July 5.
Houston Dash: McLeod, Ochs, Engen, Ohale (46' Diggs), Romero, Edwards, Kyle, Masar, Ohai, McCarty (74' Elston), Burger (59' Toulouse)
Washington Spirit: Harris, Gayle (67' Dunn), Averbuch (59' Nairn), Lindsey, Matheson, Krieger, Taylor, DeVanna (78' Garefrekes), Huster, Singer, Cross