The Houston Dash came from behind twice to equalize before allowing a heart-breaking goal in stoppage time in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Spirit at Maryland SoccerPlex on Monday afternoon.
The Spirit capitalized early to take the lead. Washington forward Jodie Taylor pressured Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod into a poor clearance on a back pass, which fell directly to Diana Matheson. Matheson took a touch then chipped a shot over the out-of-position McLeod for her fifth goal of the year.
The Dash responded quickly with the equalizer less than 10 minutes later. Forward Nina Burger started the move by clipping a ball wide on the right flank to Ella Masar. Masar found Kaylyn Kyle running into the box, and the Canadian midfielder played back across goal for Burger to meet with a sliding finish and her first goal since joining the Dash from Austrian club SV Neulengbach.
Opportunities continued as the Dash knocked on the Spirit goal throughout the game. Burger put the ball in the back of the net off a Kika Toulouse free kick in the 21st minute, but the goal was called back on an offside call. Opportunity rang again in the 26th minute as midfielder Becky Edwards split the Spirit defense to find Masar making a diagonal run across the box, but her shot was blocked by Spirit keeper Ashlyn Harris.
The Spirit weathered that storm, however, and retook the lead in the 38th minute. Christine Nairn played a hopeful long ball forward, but the pass went over the heads of the Dash backline and into the path of Jodie Taylor to settle and finish. The chances didn’t stop there for the Spirit as Matheson, Taylor, Danesha Adams and Crystal Dunn continued to pose as a threat and put high pressure on McLeod and the Dash defense, putting up 17 shots on the afternoon.
Houston equalized once again in the 77th minute, this time off the head of defender Osinachi Ohale. Stephanie Ochs, playing against her former team, floated a corner kick to the far post and the Nigerian international rose above to head it home.
Washington had a golden opportunity to find the winning goal in the 82nd minute as McLeod was whistled for a foul in the box, but the keeper redeemed herself by stopping Matheson’s spot kick to preserve the scoreline until deep into stoppage time, when the Spirit did find their late winner.
In the final of the three minutes added on by referee Matthew Franz, Christine Nairn picked up the ball 30 yards out from goal and ripped a left-footed shot into the far upper corner of the goal for the dramatic winner.
Houston (1-7-1, 4 points) travels to New York to take on Western New York Flash next Saturday. Washington (4-4-1, 13 points) heads out to Boston for a June 1st match.
Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit
May 26, 2014 – Maryland SoccerPlex
NWSL Regular Season
Attendance – 2,865
Washington: Diana Matheson 5 (unassisted) 4
Houston: Nina Burger 1 (Kaylyn Kyle 1) 12
Washington: Jodie Taylor 3 (Christine Nairn 1) 38
Houston: Osinachi Ohale 1 (Stephanie Ochs 1) 77
Washington: Christine Nairn 2 (unassisted) 90+3
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod, Kika Toulouse (Arianna Romero 59), Osinachi Ohale, Holly Hein, Stephanie Ochs, Becky Edwards, Kelly McFarlane, Kaylyn Kyle, Rafaelle Souza (Kealia Ohai 46), Ella Masar, Nina Burger (Tiffany McCarty 70)
Unused Substitutes: Bianca Henninger, Marissa Diggs, Teresa Noyola
Washington Spirit: Ashlyn Harris, Yael Averbuch, Robyn Gayle (Bianca Sierra 58), Lori Lindsey, Christine Nairn, Diana Matheson, Ali Krieger, Jodie Taylor, Veronica Perez (Danesha Adams 46), Crystal Dunn (Renae Cuellar 85), Tori Huster
Unused Substitutions: Chantel Jones, Jordan Angeli
Referee: Matthew Franz
Referee Assistants: Ross Kleinstuber, Jeffrey Skinner
Fourth Official: Jordan Gray