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First place North Carolina Courage defeat Houston Dash

Kyah Simon makes Dash debut in loss.

Trask Smith

Kyah Simon and Kealia Ohai’s appearance in Houston’s starting lineup was unable to achieve its desired effect. Ohai played 61 minutes in the match but was unable to launch a shot on frame and while Simon played the full 90 in her Dash debut, Houston’s inability to create chances for their striker severely impacted her ability to make a difference.

The North Carolina Courage capitalized on their attacking opportunities to defeat the Dash 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Crystal Dunn opened the scoring with a goal in the second minute, volleying home Jessica McDonald’s long throw-in. McDonald’s throw-in bounced over Amber Brooks’s head and Dunn placed her strike past Jane Campbell. The goal marked Dunn’s third of the season.

In the 25th minute, Houston attempted to respond with a goal of their own on a corner kick. Amber Brooks header deflected off the crossbar and the rebound fired on frame by Nichelle Prince was stopped by Sabrina D’Angelo. Kristie Mewis went down on the play after receiving a high foot from Lynn Williams, however, a penalty kick wasn’t awarded on the play.

The Courage scored their second goal of the match in the 48th minute as Houston failed to clear North Carolina’s corner kick. The errant ball fell to the Kristen Hamilton’s feet and the Courage forward launched a bending strike from beyond the box into the back of the net.

North Carolina displayed why they are the only undefeated team left in the league, as the team dominated the Dash in possession 63.9 percent to Houston’s 36.1 percent mark. The Courage also led in shots — launching 27 total shots to Houston’s eight — forcing Campbell to make five saves.

Campbell made a great diving stop on Lynn Williams in the 80th minute to keep the score within reach for Houston.

In the 85th minute, Simon had her best chance of the match. The Australian international received the ball inside the box and took her first touch past Abby Erceg but her strike fell wide of the near post.

With the victory, the first-place Courage improved to a 5-0-1 record, while Houston sits in the eighth spot at 0-2-3

The Dash will continue their search for their first win of the season on the road against Sky Blue FC next Saturday at 7:00 CT.