The Houston Dash ended their inaugural home campaign on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, falling to Sky Blue FC 3-1.
Sky Blue forward Nadia Nadim tallied a hat trick to continue her whirlwind introduction to the NWSL, giving her five goals in five games for the New Jersey club. Nina Burger scored the lone goal for the Dash.
The Dash controlled the tempo of the match early creating chances all over the field. Kealia Ohai provided most of the excitement for Houston. In the 16th minute Ohai danced past two Sky Blue defenders and delivered a shot past goalkeeper Jillian Loyden but also just past the goal post.
Sky Blue FC broke the deadlock in the 39th minute. Rookie Maya Hayes played a square ball across the box for Nadim to tap in for her first goal of the night.
Houston thought they had an answer in the 44th minute. Ohai dribbled down the right side to deliver a cross that was headed in by a diving Melissa Henderson, but the goal was waved off by an offside call to send the teams to the locker rooms with the advantage to Sky Blue.
The Dash started the second half with energy and excitement, creating chances much like the start of the first half. In the 56th minute Ohai found Becky Edwards in the middle of the box with another cross, but Edwards was unable to capitalize, putting the ball wide right.
The game went back and forth until Nadim struck again for her second goal of the match. SBFC was given a set piece opportunity from just outside the box after a Houston foul on Arianna Romero. An excellent ball from teammate Katy Freels found Nadim streaking across the middle of the box. Nadim cashed in with a header that gave SBFC a 2-0 lead.
The Dash weren’t going to go down with a fight, however. Ohai provided consistent pressure on the Sky Blue defense. Moments after Ohai was denied one-on-one by Loyden, Houston got on the board after a corner into the box from Jordan Jackson led to a tip drill on the goal line. Marissa Diggs kept the ball alive long enough for Nina Burger to head in the Dash’s only goal on the night to cut the deficit to one.
Houston’s comeback effort was cut short when Nadim completed her hat trick in the 92nd minute after slipping past the Dash backline to put away the game for SBFC.
The Dash will look to rebound in their season finale next Sunday when they travel to Boston to face the Breakers. Sky Blue keeps their playoff hopes alive for the moment, and plays at the Western New York Flash on Wednesday.
Houston Dash (5-14-3; 18 points) vs. Sky Blue FC (6-8-7; 25 points)
NWSL regular season
August 9, 2014—BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Sky Blue: Nadia Nadim 3 (Maya Hayes 1) 39
Sky Blue: Nadia Nadim 4 (Katy Freels 3) 74
Houston: Nina Burger 4 (Tiffany McCarty 1) 86
Sky Blue: Nadia Nadim 5 (Kelley O'Hara 5) 92
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod ©; Arianna Romero, Osinachi Ohale, Marissa Diggs, Stephanie Ochs (Rafaelle Souza 81); Kaylyn Kyle, Ella Masar (Jordan Jackson 46), Becky Edwards; Kealia Ohai, Nina Burger, Melissa Henderson (Tiffany McCarty 66)
Unused substitutes: Bianca Henninger, Kika Toulouse, Kelly McFarlane, Meghan Klingenberg
Sky Blue FC: Jillian Loyden; Caitlin Foord, Cami Levin, Christie Rampone, Lindsi Cutshall (CoCo Goodson 61); Kelley O'Hara, Sophie Schmidt, Katy Freels, Ashley Nick; Maya Hayes (Jonelle Filigno 78), Nadia Nadim
Unused substitutes: Brittany Cameron, Nanase Kiryu, Monica Ocampo
SBFC: Nadia Nadim (caution) 23
HOU: Becky Edwards (caution) 39
SBFC: Ashley Nick (caution) 62
HOU: Arianna Romero (caution) 73
Referee: Mark Allatin
Assistant Referees: Kyle Atkins, Ramon Bermudez, Jr.
Fourth Official: Christa Dorsey