The points just keep coming away from BBVA Stadium.
The match began at a fairly sluggish pace and continued that way until roughly the 10 minute mark, as both teams were a bit cautious and looked to feel each other out in the early stages. The Pride quickly moved forward at that point on the counter through Chioma Obogagu and Marisa Viggiano who tested Jane Campbell with the first effort on goal on the night, but the Dash ‘keeper was untroubled.
Moments later, Orlando’s Carson Pickett let fly from outside the box and Campbell did well to tip the effort over the crossbar.
The momentum remained with the hosts and they tested Houston’s shot stopper once again in the 16th minute when a deflected ball from the end line needed to be pushed away.
Space began to open up halfway through the first stanza and the Dash were able to get more of a foothold by pushing the outside backs farther up the field and through winning a couple of free kicks in their attacking half of the field.
Marta played a brilliant ball into the penalty area in the 31st that Ali Krieger somehow played wide of goal. The Dash had a great opportunity of their own minutes later when Sofia Huerta looked to collect at the top of the box in a pocket of space, but her first touch at full speed let her down.
Clare Polkinghorne made one of the plays of the game with a timely tackle in space when the Pride flew forward on the counter through Marta. The final chance before the halftime whistle came with two minutes and was the best to that point as Obogagu slipped into the box but fired wide with only Campbell to beat. The teams went into the break knotted at 0-0.
The women in orange produced the first chance after the break when Kristie Mewis danced her way out of traffic and found the feet of Jamia Fields, but her low, sizzling effort went just wide of the post in the 52nd minute. The visitors kept the pressure up and Huerta unleashed a strike from long range that had a helpless Harris beat, but skimmed the crossbar on its way over.
The game was soon changed dramatically in favor of Houston when Daly played Mewis in at the top of the box and she was brought down a split second before entering the area, resulting in a free kick and a red card to Pride defender Julie King. The final product wasn’t there, though, as Huerta skied her effort into the stands.
Nevertheless, the advantage would ultimately pay off in the closing stages. Kealia Ohai was fouled in an advanced position, and this time the official pointed to the spot. As Daly stepped up prepare for the penalty, Marta threw her to the ground and a scuffle ensued. The Brazilian was given her marching orders and the Pride were forced to play with nine for the remainder of the match.
Although she failed to make a significant impact for much of the affair, Daly once again delivered when it mattered most. She managed to compose herself after the skirmish and buried the spot kick to send Houston back home with all three points in hand.
The Dash move up one spot to fifth with the win and four points behind the playoff line. They return to action in two weeks time when they host Sky Blue FC following a bye.
87’ HOU: Rachel Daly (penalty)
61’ ORL: Julie King (Red)
74’ ORL: Marta
82’ HOU: Cece Kizer
85’ ORL: Marta (Red)
87’ HOU: Kealia Ohai
90’+ 2 ORL: Claire Emslie
Dash: 76’ Cece Kizer for Sophie Schmidt, 79’ Kyah Simon for Jamia Fields, 88’ Ariana Calderon for Kealia Ohai
Pride: 69’ Kristen Edmonds for Joanna Boyles, 69’ Rachel Hill for Marisa Viggiano, 88’ Camila for Chioma Ubogagu