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Anatomy of a Goal: Daly picks out Groom

Shea Groom rose to meet a perfect Rachel Daly cross for the Dash’s second goal of the night.

Houston Dash

The Houston Dash put in an impressive performance Saturday night, beating OL Reign 2-0 at the NWSL Challenge Cup. Kristie Mewis scored the opening goal and the first half and Shea Groom bagged the second after halftime. With all due respect to Mewis’ goal, and it was great, today we’re going to take a more in depth look at Groom’s goal. To the breakdown....

Defenders always doing the dirty work. Right back Ally Prisock did well to start the attack by winning the ball here and funneling it to the center of the field, to her midfield.

Sophie Schmidt receives Prisock’s pass and she does well with her first touch, taking her back wide, away from the pressure.

Schmidt sees Rachel Daly’s run on the right and plays the ball in to the space. Katie Stengel and Bri Visalli see the play developing and begin their runs on the other side of the field.

Daly receives the pass from Schmidt and has options, with open space ahead of her.

Daly does well with her second touch to open her shoulders and drive towards the box while staying wide. This movement from Daly causes the defenders to track a possible run in to the box or attempt to close down a cross, where Daly has space opening up in the 18.

Daly stays wide and sets up to play her cross in. We can see Stengel making a near post run and most importantly, bringing her defender with her away from the center of the box. Stengel’s well-timed run leaves a hole in the middle of the area where the eventual goal scorer Shea Groom is now entering the play.

Daly’s cross floats over Stengel, who is occupying her defender at the near post and Groom arrives right on time to power in the header. Perfection.

From this alternate angle we can see the moment when Schmidt opens the play out wide to Daly. Daly has all kinds of space ahead of her on the right while Stengel and Visalli begin their runs in the center and on the left. Goal scorer Groom stays back slightly, allowing her attackers to make their runs and create the space she ends up exploiting beautifully.

From the same alternate angle we now see the moment Daly looks up to play her cross. Stengel’s run to the near post is shown here as she drags the center back with her. Not only does Groom have space in the middle now, Visalli is also running free at the back post.

Air Groom. 2-0 Dash.

This goal showed just how dangerous the Dash can be when they’re in open space and on the break. We have seen similar goals in the past few years from the men, when Alberth Elis is able to run free on the wing. If the Dash can stay fit and healthy, their free flowing attack will be a joy to watch in this tournament and beyond.