The Houston Dash got back in NWSL action today in a meeting with NJ/NY Gotham FC. The Dash fired on all cylinders with their Canadians back in the lineup and ran away 4-2 winners. The win puts Houston into third place in the NWSL table.
Gotham got the game’s first goal off a Houston miscue in the 4th minute. Ally Prisock and Allysha Chapman looked to be caught undecided at midfield and Prisock lost the ball. Taylor Smith took off down the right flank and squared a perfect ball to Paige Monaghan who got in behind Natalie Jacobs. Monaghan slid her shot into the empty net to give the home side the 1-0 lead.
The Dash got their equalizer off a corner in the 19th minute. Maria Sanchez’s corner from the right was whipped to the near post where Katie Naughton headed it toward goal. A scramble on the goal line led to Mandy Freeman putting it her own net to make the score 1-1.
Houston grabbed the lead in the 36th minute courtesy of Air Groom. Marisa Viggiano played the ball wide for Sanchez who put a perfect ball into the middle on the head of Shea Groom. The Dash midfielder made no mistake, thumping her header right through Gotham goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to give Houston a 2-1 lead.
Forward Ebony Salmon had a chance to make it three just a minute before the end of the first half. The English striker broke free of the Gotham defense but tried to round Harris, instead of shooting, and lost the ball out of play over the end line.
Houston came out in the second half looking to extend their lead. Ally Prisock (53rd minute) and Shea Groom (58th minute) both went close with headers that went just over the bar. The Dash got their third in spectacular fashion through Sophie Schmidt. The Canadian, who returned from international duty this match, received a back pass from Viggiano outside the box. Schmidt unleashed a one time effort with her left foot that beat Harris to the backpost upper 90. The world-class effort put Houston in front 3-1 after 70 minutes.
Just 3 minutes later, Houston sealed all three points from the penalty spot. Maria Sanchez got into the box and won a penalty for the Dash. Ebony Salmon sent Harris the wrong way to give Houston a 4-1 lead in the 73rd minute.
Gotham didn’t go down without first grabbing their own stunning goal. Midge Purce took off from her own half and showed incredible pace to get behind the entire Dash defense. She got 1 on 1 with Campbell and lifted a left-footed shot into the net for Gotham’s second of the evening. It was a phenomenal goal but wouldn’t be enough as the Dash saw out the 90 minutes.
Houston picked up their second straight win under interim head coach Juan Carlos Amorós and grabbed another big 3 points in the club’s quest for a first ever playoff appearance. Next up for the Dash will be a trip to the other coast to take on OL Reign on Sunday, August 7.