The result seemed unlikely until the final minutes of the match, but the Houston Dash recorded their first victory in franchise history with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium.
The Dash played from behind on two separate occasions due to goals from Heather O’Reilly and Joanna Lohman, but a second half goal from Ella Masar and goals from Teresa Noyola in 81st and 85th minutes provided a historic night for the NWSL’s newest team.
The Breakers wasted no time getting on the board, as O’Reilly broke through the Dash back line via a through ball from Lisa De Vanna not even a minute into the match. Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod made the stop, on O’Reilly’s initial shot, but the forward’s run took her right into the path of the rebound for an open net finish.
The Dash struggled in the early minutes with the Breakers’ speed in attack, surrendering five shots in the first half, but eventual found their footing and created several chances of their own.
A minute before the halftime whistle, defender Holly Hein nearly equalized with an open header off a corner kick but Breakers midfielder Kaylyn Kyle blocked the shot off the goal line to preserve Boston's lead after the first 45 minutes.
The Dash got their opening goal five minutes after the break, however. Tiffany McCarty forced a diving save from Naeher, but the Breakers keeper couldn’t parry the shot out of trouble. Masar beat the Boston defense to the loose ball, and fired home the first goal in franchise history.
The Breakers took the lead back 20 minutes later, again thanks to work by O’Reilly. This time the U.S. Women’s National Team attacker played provider, serving in a cross to an unmarked Joanna Lohman, who beat McLeod to the ball and headed in the goal.
Two attacking substitutions from the Dash proved to be the difference late in the game as Rafaelle Souza and Teresa Noyola came on for Masar and Dominique Richardson, respectively. Their fresh legs and creative spark resulted the tying and winning goals in the last 10 minutes.
Souza, who has not been with the team this spring as she finishes her degree at Ole Miss, dribbled through the middle of the field and layed off a ball to Noyola at the top of the penalty area in the 81st minute. The Mexican international clipped a shot into the far upper corner to pull Houston even for the second time on the night.
Three minutes later, Souza again created a goal, earning a penalty as she was tripped by Courtney Jones while dribbling through the box. Noyola stepped up to take the spot kick and confidently placed it into the lower right corner, just past the outstretched arm of Breakers keeper Alyssa Naeher.
The Dash move to 1-1-0 on the young season, and will travel to Seattle to take on the Reign next Sunday. Boston will host Sky Blue FC on the same day as they remain the only team in the league without a point.
Houston Dash at Boston Breakers
April 20, 2014—Harvard Stadium, Boston, MA
NWSL Regular Season
Boston: Heather O’Reilly 1 (unassisted) 1
Houston: Ella Masar 1 (unassisted) 50
Boston: Joanna Lohman 1 (Heather O’Reilly 1) 70
Houston: Teresa Noyola 1 (Rafaelle Souza 1) 81
Houston: Teresa Noyola 2 (penalty) 85
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Arianna Romero, Osinachi Ohale, Holly Hein, Nikki Washington; Dominique Richardson (Teresa Noyola 75), Becky Edwards, Jordan Jackson; Tiffany McCarty, Ella Masar (Rafaelle Souza 65), Stephanie Ochs (Lindsay Elston 46)
Unused Substitutes: Bianca Henninger, Marissa Diggs, Kika Toulouse,
Boston Breakers: Alyssa Naeher; Jazmyne Avant, Cat Whitehill, Courtney Jones, Julie King; Joanna Lohman (Bianca D’Agostino 72), Kaylyn Kyle (Ashley Grove 65), Lianne Sanderson; Heather O’Reilly, Mollie Pathman (Maddy Evans 75), Lisa De Vanna
Unused Substitutes: Jamie Kranich, Chelsea Stewart, Jazmine Reeves, Nkem Ezurike, Katie Schoepfer
BOS: Alyssa Haeher (caution) 58
BOS: Courtney Jones (caution) 79
BOS: Heather O’Reilly (caution) 85
Referee: Josh Wilkens
Referee’s Assistants: Ian McKay, Mounir Idmalak
Fourth Official: Michael Dee