BOSTON—The Houston Dash dropped their only chance to claim a season sweep over an opponent and fell to last place in the NWSL standings in the process with a 1-0 loss to the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium.
Kristie Mewis’ second half goal was enough to claim all three points for Boston, who were on the other end of one-goal games in their previous encounters with the Dash. Houston goes into the final game of the NWSL regular season needing a win to finish their inaugural season off the bottom of the table.
Both teams came out in the first half with an attacking mindset as they combined for 13 shots in the opening period. Mewis nearly opened the scoring 17 minutes in as she tried to catch Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod off her line. The Boston attacker floated a ball from 30 yards out on the left sideline that drifted to the far post but dropped on top of the crossbar and out.
Dash forward Kealia Ohai looked dangerous after scoring two goals in the teams’ last meeting in Houston on July 11. The speedy rookie blew by the Breakers defense on a couple of occasions but reigning NWSL Player of the Week Alyssa Naeher came up with timely saves to keep her off the board. Ohai managed to beat Naeher with a curling shot from inside the box two minutes before the halftime whistle, but the attempt clanged against the far post and stayed out.
Boston came out with more attacking intent as in the second half as they looked to end their season on a high note, and it payed off in the 77th minute with Mewis’ goal. Heather O’Reilly put in a cross from the left side that was partially deflected by Dash defender Stephanie Ochs, but the ball fell to Mewis just a couple of yards in front of goal and the second-year player made no mistake punching it in.
Houston had the ball in the back of the net six minutes later, but had it taken back on an offside call. With players forward after a cleared corner kick, Becky Edwards delivered a second cross into the box. Rafaelle Souza, who was instrumental as a substitute in Houston’s 3-2 win in Boston on April 20, rose above the defense to head the ball down to Kelly McFarlane near the post. The rookie midfielder had her initial shot saved by Naeher but put away the rebound, only to have the assistant referee’s flag nullify the attempt.
The Dash now finish their inaugural campaign on Wednesday in a makeup match at Sky Blue FC. The match, rescheduled after their July 2 meeting was postponed due to severe weather, doesn’t hold any playoff implications after Portland Thorns FC clinched the final spot on Sunday, but will decide the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. Houston, currently in last place, sits two points behind the Breakers—who, coincidentally, traded their first round pick to Sky Blue.
Boston Breakers (6-16-2, 20 points) vs. Houston Dash (5-15-3, 18 points)
NWSL regular season
August 17, 2014—Harvard Stadium, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston: Kristie Mewis 3 (Heather O’Reilly 5) 77
Boston Breakers: Alyssa Naeher; Nikki Washington (Bianca D’Agostino 84), Rachel Wood, Julie King, Mollie Pathman; Heather O’Reilly, Cat Whitehill © (Maddy Evans 88), Kristie Mewis; Jazmine Reeves (Bianca Sierra 69), Katie Schoepfer, Courtney Jones
Substitutes Not Used: Jami Kranich, Joanna Lohman, Chelsea Stewart
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod ©; Stephanie Ochs, Osinachi Ohale, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg; Kaylyn Kyle (Kelly McFarlane 59), Jordan Jackson, Becky Edwards; Kealia Ohai, Nina Burger (Rafaelle Souza 76), Melissa Henderson (Tiffany McCarty 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger, Arianna Romero, Marissa Diggs, Kika Toulouse
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referees: Khalaf Al Latayfeh, Emilie Buse
Fourth Official: Andrew Brooks