Seattle Reign FC continued to flex their muscles in NWSL play at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday night with a 4-1 victory over the Houston Dash. Seattle clinched the NWSL Shield, awarded to the team with the best regular season record, with the win.
Sydney Leroux started the scoring early for Seattle. Leroux found the back of the net in the second minute of play after recovering a rebound off of Dash defender Whitney Engen in the box.
The Reign doubled their advantage in the 26th minute as Jessica Fishlock found Kim Little, who slipped behind the Dash back line. The NWSL goal leader placed her shot past Dash keeper Erin McLeod for her 13th goal of the season.
The Dash responded with threats of their own in the first half. Stephanie Ochs served a corner kick to the head of Becky Edwards in the 28th minute. Seattle keeper Hope Solo was forced to make two terrific saves to keep the Dash off the board. Ochs again created another near chance, but was turned away by Solo.
Erin McLeod gave the Dash momentum going into halftime. In the 42nd minute McLeod found herself one on one with Seattle’s Nahomi Kawasumi. McLeod dove to her right, and kept Seattle from taking a three goal lead to the half.
Seattle began the second half of play much like the first. In the 48th minute, Megan Rapinoe converted what originally looked like a cross into the box from near the endline. The ball from Rapinoe’s left foot drifted just above the outstretched arms of McLeod nestled unexpectedly into the far netting.
Down three goals, the Dash began to put pressure on again in the 53rd minute. Becky Edwards once again won a corner kick header and this time beat Solo, but was cleared off the line by Kiersten Dallstream. Two minutes later, the Dash did find their goal. Kealia Ohai dribbled along the right side and got to the endline before firing a shot at the near post that deflected off of Solo’s hand and into the back of the net.
The comeback bid was short-lived as Little found the back of the net in the 78th minute for the second time as the Reign cruised the rest of the way to a 4-1 victory and the NWSL Shield. The two clubs meet again for the third and final time next Wednesday in Seattle.
The Dash will look to rebound on Sunday when they travel to Portland to face Thorns FC on ESPN2. Seattle continues their road trip to take on FC Kansas City on Saturday.
Houston Dash (5-11-3; 18 points) vs. Seattle Reign FC (15-1-4; 49 points)
NWSL regular season
July 30, 2014 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Seattle: Sydney Leroux 5 (Kim Little 6) 2
Seattle: Kim Little 13 (Jessica Fishlock 6) 26
Seattle: Megan Rapinoe 3 (Unassisted) 48
Houston: Kealia Ohai 4 (Unassisted) 55
Seattle: Kim Little 18 (Unassisted) 78
Seattle Reign FC: Hope Solo; Stephanie Cox, Lauren Barnes, Kiersten Dallstream, Kendall Fletcher; Keelin Winters, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little (Mariah Nogueira 83); Nahomi Kawasumi (Beverly Goebel 60), Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe (Danielle Foxhoven 77)
Unused Substitutes: Elli Reed, Megan Brigman, Haley Kopmeyer
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Stephanie Ochs, Marissa Diggs, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg; Kelly McFarlane (Kaylyn Kyle 46), Jordan Jackson (Nina Burger 70), Becky Edwards; Kealia Ohai, Rafaelle Souza (Tiffany McCarty 33), Melissa Henderson
Unused substitutes: Arianna Romero, Bianca Henninger, Osinachi Ohale, Ella Masar
SRFC: Keelin Winters (Caution) 84
Referee: Timon Berry
Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Mike Arrington
Fourth Official: Greg Boles