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Dash dominate Orlando behind Nichelle Prince hat trick

Canadian Nichelle Prince scored the first hat trick in club history to lead Houston to a 5-0 win Friday night.

NWSL: Orlando Pride at Houston Dash Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, June 2, the Houston Dash took on the Orlando Pride at PNC Stadium. The Dash came in to this match riding a lenghty unbeaten streak, looking to stay near the top of the table in the National Women’s Soccer League. Everything went the way of Houston on the night as the team romped to a 5-0 victory.

Nichelle Prince got the party started in the 28th minute .Captain Rachel Daly played Prince through on goal and after beating Pride keeper Erin McLeod, Prince’s shot was deflected into the net by former Dash defender Megan Montefusco.

Daly would continue the scoring with a goal in the 32nd minute off a fantastic feed from Maria Sanchez. The Mexican international whipped a ball in from long range on the left to a sprinting Daly. The Englishwoman got her head on the ball perfectly to get her shot on frame and over a helpless McLeod to give Houston a 2-0 lead.

Prince would take over the game from there to leave no doubt about the result. Her second goal, and the Dash’s third, came just before halftime. She darted down the left side, cut back in on her right foot and again sent a shot that Montefusco could only help into her own net.

The Canadian international finished off her hat trick, the first in club history in the 49th minute. Sanchez and Shea Groom worked the ball once again down the left side. Groom took a heavy challenge on the end line but was able to find Prince. The heroine of the evening chipped McLeod with a perfectly weighted effort to make the score line 4-0.

Michelle Aloize would end the party with a goal in the 87th minute, the first of her NWSL career. The Nigerian international was in on goal moments before and missed the net, but she made no doubt this time of asking. Groom played Alozie through from her own half and she was able to hold off the defender and then calmly slot her shot past McLeod to make the final score 5-0.

Nichelle Prince spoke after the match about just how big the win was for the team. “It’s huge,” Prince told the media in the postgame press conference. “We are going into every game fighting for a win and not taking anything for granted or letting teams get into the game. I think we know that we are a really good team when we are playing our best and fighting for each other and when we are following the game plan. When we don’t do that then the game can be different - we are trying to be consistent and bring our game every week.”

Captain Rachel Daly was extremely proud of her teammate and her performance. “Yeah, she needs her name in lights tonight,” Daly said after the match. “She was absolutely brilliant. I’ve said before she’s so underrated and she’s such a phenomenal player. She works so hard and she’s a true professional — everyday she comes in she grinds. She works her ass off, sorry excuse my French, but she is an angel on and off the field and she was absolutely fantastic tonight. I couldn’t be more proud and happy for her.”

With the win, Houston now sits tied for second place with the Chicago Red Stars, two points behind first place San Diego Wave FC. The top six teams make the playoffs. The Dash are back in action tomorrow night, looking to go top of the table if they can beat newcomers Angel City FC. The match kicks off at 9:00 PM central time and can be watched on Paramount+.