NWSL Week 13 Rewind: Houston snaps six-game streak, blanks Portland

Dash

By TOM SLATER

The streak in scoring futility is over for the Houston Dash.

And they did it in a big way.

The Dash came into the match with six straight 1-0 losses, facing the top-ranked Portland Thorns FC in Week 13 of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). But Houston (3-7-1, 10 points) exploded for a 3-0 win over Portland (7-2-5, 26 points) who look like a much different team without its United States international player. The loss coupled with Washington’s 3-2 win Saturday left the two teams tied for the league lead.

Rachel Daly scored just seven minutes into the match for Houston’s first goal since May 7. She finished a cross from captain Kealia Ohai at the edge of the six-yard box. The Dash doubled its lead in the 68th minute when Rebecca Moros found MF Amber Brooks inside the six-yard box. The midfielder from New Jersey scored her first goal with the club with a shot to the near post. Ohai finished the scoring with her first goal of the season in the 83rd minute when she dribbled into the box and beat Thorns goalkeeper Michelle Betos at the far post.

Washington Spirit 3, FC Kansas City 2: Coupled with the Thorns’ loss, the Spirit moved into a tie with the Thorns for first place in the NWSL.

The Spirit (8-7-2, 26 points) used a pair of goals from Estefania Banini and another for Joanna Lohman to beat FC Kansas City (3-6-4, 13 points) on the road. Christine Nairn set up all three goals on set pieces.

Shea Groom and Frances Silva kept Kansas City close with a goal each. Just before halftime, Washington scored first when Christine Nairn took a free kick which bounced off the head of a Kansas City player and fell to Banini. The Argentinian wove through a several Kansas City defenders and slotted her shot beyond FCKC goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart into the bottom right hand corner of the net. A Nairn corner kick in the 59th minute caused chaos in front of the net and ended in chances for four different Spirit players before the ball found its way to the feet of Lohman who settled the chaos by blasting the ball into the back of the net to give the Spirit a 2-0 lead. FCKC answered with one of its own. Erika Tymrak served a corner to the far post in the 69th minute to a waiting Silva who headed the ball into the net to halve the Spirit’s lead to 2-1. Nairn set up another goal on a corner kick that deflected to Banini who volleyed from outside the 18 past the outstretched arms of Barnhart to the upper left hand corner of the net.

Groom gave hope to Kansas City in the 91st minute after a Brianne Reed throw in. Groom shot the ball from close range to make the score 3-2. Despite some more chances, FCKC was unable to find an equalizer.

Western New York 1, Seattle Reign 1:  In the rematch of last week’s fiasco at Frontier Field, all the action was on the field. The Flash had a chance to move into first place with a win but settled for being a point back of Washington and Portland.

Western New York (8-4-1, 25 points) peppered Seattle (4-4-5, 17 points)  but need a goal by Jess McDonald to get the point. The Reign opened the night’s scoring early on as Manon Melis put one past the outstretched right hand of Flash goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland.

From there, Western New York controlled most of the game. Hungry for an equalizer, the Flash used numerous corner kicks, free kicks, and crosses to put pressure on Seattle goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski. The Flash were able to find a break in the Seattle defense in the 45th minute as Jaelene Hinkle crossed a corner kick to the far side of the 6-yard box that found the head of Abby Dahlkemper. Dahlkemper nodded it back to the far post, where McDonald headed it past Tostanoski and into the back of the net.

McDonald’s tally was her sixth of the season, putting her within one of teammate Lynn Williams on the National Women’s Soccer League leaderboard.

Western New York has two goals called back on offside calls on captain Abby Erceg, who scored two goals against Seattle last week.

Chicago Red Stars 1, Orlando Pride 0: The Chicago Red Stars snapped a three-game losing streak, courtesy of a crucial 1-0 away win over the Orlando Pride (6-7-0, 18 points).

The Red Stars’ victory was due to Taylor Comeau’s first goal as a professional and goalkeeper Michele Dalton’s first shutout of the season.

Chicago (6-4-3, 21 points)  grabbed the lead in the 23rd minute on the first clear-cut chance of the match. Striker Sofia Huerta recorded swung in a beautiful cross from the right that found the head of Comeau, who rose above everyone and powered the ball inside the near post for the game-winner.

The visitors came within inches of doubling their lead 15 minutes later, DiBernardo advancing to the top of the box and hitting an intelligent left-footed shot that seemed to find its way inside the same upright but instead bounced off and away.