Following Friday night’s disappointing 3-1 home loss to the Portland Thorns FC, key players including newly arrive Sofia Huerta and midfielder Kyah Simon hit the nail on the head.
“Each week that goes by, I’m hoping that we build positively as a team and build that cohesion and turn that into goals,” said Simon
Huerta agreed and went on to say that, “I think if we can just finish our opportunities and capitalize we’ll be good. We just needed to finish and believe in ourselves a little more and use the right tactics a little more at the end of the game.”
On Wednesday night the Houston Dash showed that they indeed had heard the message of their teammates. Behind goals from Kealia Ohai and Huerta, the Houston Dash rallied for a 2-1 road win over the Orlando Pride. Houston went from a 2 of 17 on target effort against Portland to a 5 of 10 with two goals against Orlando.
For an offensive player charged with scoring, finishing is the name of the game when it comes to the difference between winning and losing. Finishing is so important that Ohai early in her career told this columnist that if she doesn’t score many fans would say she isn’t doing her job no matter how well she plays. Sometimes scoring is a little bit about luck, however, putting yourself in a position for good things to happen is the beginning of making magic happen. The Dash captain brought Houston level with Orlando in the 79th minute with her third goal of the season and then set up Huerta’s game winner. Taking a pass from Linda Mothalo, the Draper, Utah native raced, settling it on the far side before launching what appeared to be a cross towards Huerta at the far post but instead nestled in the upper 90 over the outstretched arms of Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris. Orlando head coach Tom Sermanni was not impressed with the goal.
“I wouldn’t consider her first goal a scoring chance,” said Sermanni when asked about Ohai’s goal. “Her first goal was a miss hit cross, it’s as simple as that. That’s not a scoring chance for me. She’s always a dangerous player and dangerous players at some stage in the game are going to create something. What she did well in the second half and the first half is that she stayed up the field so anytime there’s a break there’s a chance you’re going to be free. I don’t sit here and say she produced two bits of magic to win the game because she didn’t, if she did I would say so. But it was simply a miss hit cross and an unfortunate penalty.”
Ohai’s return from last season’s devastating knee injury has been the catalyst for Houston’s move from mediocre to the cusp of very good. “Captain K,” as she is affectionately known, has scored three times in the team’s last four matches.
Huerta, arrived from Chicago 10 days ago having scored just three times in 2018, found the back of the net for the second time in as many games. Once again it was Ohai making the magic happen.
The Dash captain set-up the game winner with deflected cross off the arm of Monica Hickman Alves. Huerta then converted the penalty kick and Houston left Orlando with their second road win of the season.
While Houston was making the most of their opportunities, Orlando was missing the mark. The Pride hit the post on a penalty kick, a kick save by Campbell from point blank range and another knocked off the frame late, among others.
Houston returns to action on July 7, 2018 in Seattle before returning home on the 11th for a rematch with Orlando.