Lindsey Horan scored a brace to deny Houston a much-needed road victory to improve their playoff hopes, as the Dash suffered a tough 3-1 loss against Portland Thorns FC on Sunday night at Providence Park.
Horan netted her first goal of the match in the 16th minute on a long cross from Emily Sonnett. The Thorns FC defender played the ball over Houston’s backline and Horan flicked her header over Jane Campbell and into the back of the net.
Horan finished her brace with a goal in the 31st minute to tie Sam Kerr for the NWSL lead with nine goals. Ana-MarIa Crnogorčević headed Tobin Heath’s free kick off the crossbar and a reactive Horan tapped home the rebound for a 2-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Kealia Ohai got one back for Houston with her fourth goal of the season. Adrianna Franch couldn’t handle Taylor Comeau’s left-footed strike. Ohai slipped past the Thorns backline to slot the ball into the empty goal.
The Dash seemed to earn a penalty kick in the 40th minute, as Adrianna Franch misplayed an errant back pass and shoved Rachel Daly aside to dive for the ball. Despite Daly’s protests a foul wasn’t called on the play.
Crnogorčević added her third goal for Portland in the 47th minute to start the second-half. Hayley Raso slipped a through ball between Houston’s backline and Crnogorčević launched a strike into the far corner.
Houston nearly got one back in the 77th minute. Kealia Ohai’s cross deflected off Franch’s fingertips and into the direction of Daly but the English international’s header struck the crossbar.
Jane Campbell made five saves in the loss. Portland led the match with eight shots on goal to Houston’s total of four. Thorns FC also dominated possession 61.4% to 38.6%.
The loss hurts Houston’s dire playoff odds. The Dash sit in seventh place (5-7-5 record, 20 pts) eight points behind the Chicago Red Stars, who hold the final playoff spot. In fifth place, the Thorns (7-5-5 record, 26 pts) trail the Red Stars by only two points.
The Dash return to BBVA Compass Stadium next Saturday against the Washington Spirit. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm CT.