It may have only been a soft opening before the official launch next weekend, but the Houston Dash made the most of their introduction to BBVA Compass Stadium with a 7-1 win over the Houston Aces of the Women's Professional Soccer League.
Playing under the lights at their home grounds for the first time following the Dynamo's Texas Derby match against FC Dallas, the Dash raced out to an early lead and never looked back against the Aces. Nikki Washington played a corner kick on the ground into the box to Ella Masar, whose shot was cleared off the line by an Aces defender. Trialist Osinachi Ohale headed the bouncing clearance back on frame and was stopped by a diving Elizabeth Brown, only for Becky Edwards to pounce on the rebound for a close-range goal.
The three starting Dash forwards—Masar, Kealia Ohai and Stephanie Ochs—combined in the 14th minute for the second goal of the night. Ohai began the sequence on the left touchline, playing a pass into the feet of Ochs and making an overlapping run for Ochs to find behind the defense. Ohai charged the near post then slipped a short pass to Masar, who poked the ball just underneath the sliding Aces goalkeeper.
Ohai got on the scoring chart twice herself in the first half. The first may have been the goal of the night, with Edwards chesting down a cross from Ochs into the path of the rookie forward, who blasted a half-volley from the edge of the box into the side netting. Her second came right at the half hour mark, after Nikki Washington slipped the ball through a defender's legs on the right side of the box and played a cross through traffic to Jordan Jackson at the far post. Jackson knocked the cross back to the middle of the box for Ohai to tap in.
The Dash made it 5-0 just before the break, as Ohai was brought down inside the 18-yard box for penalty. Midfielder Brittany Bock stepped up to take the spot kick and left the keeper planted on her line as she converted.
If the first half went to Ohai, then the second belonged to Masar as she added two more goals to complete a hat trick on the night.
Eight minutes in after the halftime break, substitute Tiffany McCarty got to the endline and served a cross for an unmarked Masar to head in from five yards out. Just five minutes later, Masar worked a couple of one-twos with Jackson after the midfielder created a turnover in the attacking third to free herself in the box, and the former Chicago Red Stars striker finished the hat trick from a tight angle.
The Aces struggled to find quality chances all night, but got a consolation goal 65 minutes in. The Dash failed to clear an Aces corner kicker and the loose ball fell to Lauren Prewitt, who ripped a shot to the far post from 12 yards away that beat a diving Erin McLeod.
The win gave the Dash a 5-1-0 record to finish off their preseason slate as they look ahead to their inaugural match in the NWSL, 7:00 p.m. on April 12 against Portland Thorns FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Tickets are still available for the match at HoustonDashSoccer.com/tickets or by calling (713) 276-GOAL.
Houston Dash vs. Houston Aces
April 5, 2014—BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Dash: Becky Edwards 1 (unassisted) 6
Dash: Ella Masar 2 (Kealia Ohai 4, Stephanie Ochs 2) 14
Dash: Kealia Ohai 4 (Becky Edwards 2, Stephanie Ochs 3) 24
Dash: Kealia Ohai 5 (Jordan Jackson 2, Nikki Washington 1) 30
Dash: Brittany Bock 2 (penalty) 41
Dash: Ella Masar 3 (Tiffany McCarty 2) 53
Dash: Ella Masar 4 (Jordan Jackson 3) 58
Aces: Lauren Prewitt (unassisted) 65
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod (Bianca Henninger 77); Arianna Romero, Osinachi Ohale* (Kika Toulouse 78), Holly Hein* (Marissa Diggs 61), Nikki Washington; Becky Edwards, Brittany Bock, Jordan Jackson (Teresa Noyola 59); Stephanie Ochs (Tiffany McCarty 46), Ella Masar, Kealia Ohai (Lindsay Elston* 70)
Houston Aces: Elizabeth Che Brown; Yolanda McMillion, Katelyn Rhodes, Dyanne Anderson, Kim Abbott; Kacie Oliver (Natalia Ariza 23), Callie Payetta (Tatiana Ariza 26), Courtney Chadney; Lauri Byrne, Ashley Correa, Lauren Prewitt (Katie Russ 69)