The Houston Dash started strong and never looked back in a 2-0 win over OL Reign tonight at Zions Bank Stadium. Forward Shea Groom provided the fireworks in this Independence Day matchup with a goal and an assist to earn Budweiser Woman of the Match honors.
With the win, the Dash moved up to second in the NWSL Challenge Cup table with four points through two matches. Houston will take on Sky Blue FC in their third group-stage match on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. CDT.
Houston took the lead early on thanks to a goal from Kristie Mewis in the 12th minute. Forward Bri Visalli, making her first start with the club, sparked the scoring move with a takeaway in the attacking third. She fed Groom, who deftly backheeled the ball off to Mewis at the top of the area, and the midfielder’s first-touch left-footed shot beat OL Reign goalkeeper Casey Murphy to the near post.
Groom doubled Houston’s lead in the 54th minute with a clinical finish off of a cross from forward Rachel Daly. Daly took the ball along the right flank and drove deep into the corner before driving a high ball to the six-yard box. Groom perfectly timed her late run and leapt to drive her headed shot into the back of the net for her second goal in as many games.
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell and the Dash back line recorded their first clean sheet of the tournament, holding OL Reign without a shot on goal through 90 minutes. After conceding two goals in the final 10 minutes on Tuesday night, the Dash defense closed out tonight’s match in professional fashion, with Dash defenders blocking two Reign shots in the final 11 minutes before they could even reach Campbell.
With five goals through two matches, the Dash are the top-scoring team in the NWSL so far, ahead of defending league champion North Carolina Courage who have scored four times. The win was Houston’s first over OL Reign since 2018 and just the team’s third all-time win over the Reign.