A tale of two halves, Reign FC neutralized any attack Houston put forth in the final 45 minutes. The league's best defense had zero problem completely shutting down Carli Lloyd and clogged up the middle forcing Houston's offense wide of goal.
In the 59th minute, Rachel Corsie stood unmarked in the box and headed Stephanie Cox's corner kick past McLeod for a 2-1 Seattle lead. Randy Waldrum attempted to kickstart Houston's offense by subbing out Jessica McDonald for Melissa Henderson in the 67th minute. Henderson brought speed to the Dash attack but Houston's lack of possession in the match nulled her offensive chances.
Kealia Ohai, who's having a tremendous sophomore season, remained a bright spot in the loss. Ohai opened the scoring early in the first half, launching a strike from the fringe of the box past a diving Hope Solo. Merritt Mathais got one back for Seattle in the 22nd minute on a controversial call. The forward seemed to handle the ball on her way around McLeod and placed her strike into the open goal. A lack of consistency from the lead referee plagued the match.
The loss is a serious blow to Houston's playoff hopes, as the club sits in sixth place now five points back of the Washington Spirit who hold the final playoff position. With the win, Seattle extended their lead over the Chicago Red Stars to two points and clinched a spot in the postseason.
Dash defender Ella Masar received her fifth yellow card of the season, for a late challenge on Reign FC forward Little in the 70th minute. Masar will be suspended for Houston's next game, the second leg of their home and home series against Seattle on August 21 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston Dash (5-7-5; 20 points) vs. Seattle Reign FC (9-3-3; 30 points)
NWSL Regular Season
August 12, 2015 - Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Houston Dash 1 1 1
Seattle Reign FC 1 2 2
HOU: Kealia Ohai 15'
SRFC: Merritt Mathais 22'
SRFC: Rachel Corsie (Stephanie Cox) 59'
Ella Masar (caution) 70’
Ellie Brush (caution) 89'
Houston: Erin McLeod, Ella Masar, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley (Camilla, 80'), Meghan Klingenberg, Kealia Ohai, Rachael Axon, Morgan Brian, Andressa, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald (Melissa Henderson, 67')
Seattle: Hope Solo, Kendall Fletcher, Rachael Corsie, Lauren Barnes, Stephanie Cox, Keelin Winters, Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe (Katrine Veje, 90+3), Beverly Yanez (Amber Brooks, 87'), Merritt Mathais (Elli Reed, 84')