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Houston Dash steamrolled in front of record crowd in Portland

Back to the drawing board after 5-0 loss to Thorns

SOCCER: JUN 22 NWSL - Portland Thorns at Houston Dash Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Houston Dash traveled to the Pacific Northwest in search of a second result on the bounce and were thoroughly dominated in front of a record crowd at Providence Park and the second largest in NWSL history.

The Portland Thorns were boosted by the returns of Tobin Heath and Emily Sonnett to the starting lineup, and they came out flying from the opening whistle. It appeared the Dash were prepared to stand tall at the back when they blocked a couple of shots following an early corner, but the floodgates would begin to open just minutes later.

Sofia Huerta was dispossessed by Gabby Seiler near the right touchline in the seventh minute, and Portland quickly pounced. Seiler turned up field and found Heath, whose wayward touch at the top of the box fell to Lindsey Horan and she made no mistake in rifling a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

It took only five minutes for the second goal to arrive. Heath sent a ball across the face of goal from the left wing, Campbell was unable to clear it away, and Hayley Raso was left with quite possibly the easiest finish of her career.

Six minutes later and it was a 3-0 thanks to a Christine Sinclair penalty. Dash defender Amber Brooks committed a foul on Midge Purce and the referee pointed to the spot, although replays appeared to show the infraction occurred just outside of the box. Nevertheless, Sinclair stepped up and buried the spot kick.

Just when it appeared it couldn’t get much worse in the opening half hour, the hosts grabbed a fourth goal when Purce collected a through ball at the edge of the area, avoided an onrushing Campbell, and rolled a ball across the box that Raso coolly slotted home for her second on the night.

Something had to give, and head coach James Clarkson opted for a double substitution just under thirty minutes into the affair. Kealia Ohai and Cecelia Kizer were brought on, while Kyah Simon and Christine Nairn trotted off to the bench.

Horan came within a whisker of scoring the goal off the season with an audacious overhead kick, but Campbell produced her most impressive save on the night in tipping the effort onto the crossbar.

The final minutes before the break weren’t nearly as one-sided as the opening thirty. A half chance for the Dash came when Huerta swung in a corner and the loose ball fell to Rachel Daly, but her slap shot was blocked on its way toward goal.

The women in orange had a bright start to the second stanza and were fortunate that the intermission took a bit of energy out of the crowd. Daly produced a decent effort from outside the box three minutes in, but it was comfortably saved by Adrianna Franch. Huerta connected on a quality cross in from Ohai in the 55th, resulting in a corner for the visitors.

Portland quickly regained their footing and began searching for more, and the fifth goal came with twenty minutes to play. Allysha received a caution for a rough challenge on Tyler Lussi at the edge of the area, and the subsequent free kick ended up falling to the fouled attacker. Her effort struck Campbell before find its way into the net, and it was ultimately ruled an own goal.

The Dash were never likely to get back into this one, but they can solace in a much better performance in the second half. Another bright spot on the night came in the form of Huerta making her 100th league appearance.

Next up for the Dash is a home match on Sunday against Sky Blue FC, which kicks off a stretch in which they host three of four. Picking up maximum points at BBVA Stadium will be the goal as they look to rebound and make progress toward the playoff line.

Goals:

7’ POR: Lindsey Horan

12’ POR: Hayley Raso

18’ POR: Christine Sinclair (penalty)

23’ POR: Hayley Raso

71’ POR: Jane Campbell (own goal)

Lineups: