Kealia Ohai showcased why she’s one of the best forwards in the league. The Dash captain scored the lone goal of the match to lead Houston to their second win of the season against the Washington Spirit at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD.
Ohai received a pass from Denise O’Sullivan at the edge of the 18-yard box, attacked Estelle Johnson 1v1, cut onto her right foot and placed a low strike beyond a diving Stephanie Labbé and into the far corner.
Waldrum’s decision to play Janine Beckie in the midfield was a key factor in Houston’s bounce back victory after their disastrous loss last week to Seattle Reign FC. The move took pressure away from Ohai and Rachel Daly, creating more opportunities for connecting play and provided the Dash attack with a strong playmaker to initiate long runs with well-timed passes.
Dash defender Camille Levin had a great performance in her second start at left-back and played a role in Lydia Williams’ second clean sheet of the season. After Ohai’s goal, Levin made an important sliding tackle stripping the ball away from Francisca Ordega to prevent the speedy forward from challenging Lydia Williams on a 1v1 break.
Levin made another crucial tackle to maintain Houston’s lead in the 62nd minute, with a well-timed sliding challenge on Arielle Ship inside Houston’s 18-yard box.
The Dash spent a majority of the second half on their heels, as the Spirit continued with their attack bolstered by Jim Gabarra’s decision to bring on Ship at halftime. Houston showed a masterclass in counter-attacking in the 59th minute. As Kealia Ohai made a long run to the corner, received a through pass from Beckie and played the ball back across the box. Her cross landed at the feet of Rachel Daly at the top of the 18-yard box and she fired a left-footed strike on goal, forcing Stephanie Labbé to make a leaping save.
Lydia Williams kept the Dash in the lead with a huge save in the 68th minute. Washington defender Shelina Zadorsky placed a header on goal on the end of a Spirit free kick but Williams punched the ball out of play.
Nichelle Prince nearly scored her first goal of the season. Her open strike on goal was stopped by her Canadian international teammate Labbé. Ohai looked for her second of the match with a 1v1 opportunity against Washington’s keeper, but Labbé dove off her line and stripped the ball away from Ohai.
The Dash will look to close out their three-game road trip with another victory as they take on the Chicago Red Stars next Saturday.