The Houston Dash got a midweek visit from NJ/NY Gotham FC to PNC Stadium as the team continues to push for their first playoff appearance. The Dash were got goals from Ebony Salmon and Marisa Viggiano to secure a 2-1 win and move into a tie for first place.
Much like the match against Louisville on Friday, the Dash were on the front foot in the first half. Houston had 11 shots, and 3 on target. Nichelle Prince and Maria Sanchez drove the Dash offense on the wings but the finishing touch was not there. Gotham got forward a few times of their own, spearheaded by the dangerous Midge Purce, but Jane Campbell made 3 saves to send the match to the half scoreless.
Dash interim head coach Juan Carlos Amoros brought Ryan Gareis and Marisa Viggiano on for Elizabeth Eddy and Shea Groom at halftime, looking to bring some more life to an offense that has not scored now in three straight halves of play.
Houston had a good spell of play in the 57th minute that led to a chance. Prince broke down the right and played a cross in for Ebony Salmon. The ball was over Salmon but Sanchez sent the ball back into the box. Sophie Schmidt just missed getting a head on it and the ball found its way back to Prince’s feet but she skewed a shot high and wide.
Just moments later, the visiting team went down to 10 players for the second straight Dash game. Midge Purce was shown her second yellow in the 59th minute after blocking a Houston restart and was sent off, leaving Gotham to play the final 30 minutes with just ten players.
Ebony Salmon found the Dash break through in the 73rd minute. Gareis did well pressing in the Gotham half and won the ball off the defense. Maria Sanchez picked Salmon out in the box and her left footed chip was just over the hands of Gotham keeper Michelle Betos and off the cross bar. The ball bounced straight down, over the line, to give Houston the lead.
7️⃣ for 7️⃣ in the 7️⃣1️⃣3️⃣, @ebony_salmon!@HoustonDash | #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/Keob3QPIwV— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 18, 2022
Three minutes later, Houston got their second. Sophie Schmidt worked the ball back to the middle of the field and Viggiano found herself with space at the top of the box. The substitue let fly with her left foot, smashing a shot into the bottom right corner of the Gotham goal.
Double-Dash! Viggiano!@HoustonDash | #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/4mfklwgFnK— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 18, 2022
The visitors didn’t go away without a fight, even down to ten players. They pulled one goal back after Jane Campbell was called for a foul and given a yellow card outside the box. Former Dash midfielder Kristie Mewis sent the free kick in and captain McCall Zerboni got the slightest of touches to redirect the ball by Campbell and into the net.
How do you celebrate 15k #NWSL Minutes? Put your team on the board! What a second #HOUvNJNY half!@McCaLL2 | @GothamFC pic.twitter.com/VkNnVKLHM6— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 18, 2022
Houston did well to kill off the remainder of the match, including seven minutes of stoppage time, to secure a vital three points. The win puts the Dash level on points with the Portland Thorns at the top of the NWSL table. Next up for the Dash is a big road match on Saturday night. Houston will be in San Diego to take on Wave FC, who sit just three points behind the Dash in third place. San Diego won the first meeting of the season between the two teams, 1-0 in Houston in the regular season opener. Saturday’s match will be available on Paramount+, kicking off at 9 PM CT.