Lloyd scored in her sixth consecutive game, including the Women’s World Cup and NWSL play, and McLeod made 12 saves as the Dash overtook Western New York for fifth place in the league standings.
The Flash forced McLeod into work early, with a long drive from striker Elizabeth Eddy forcing the Dash goalkeeper to tip the shot over the bar. Neither team created much until Eddy again dribbled through a pair of defenders and was clear on McLeod in the 22nd minute. Eddy tried to curl a shot with the outside of her foot, but McLeod dove hard to her right to make the reaction save.
The Dash came out of the locker room as the aggressors to start the second half. Forward Kealia Ohai drew a corner kick just minutes after the restart, forcing Flash goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo to tip her shot from 23 yards over the crossbar. The initial corner kick was partially cleared by Western New York but defender Meghan Klingenberg was able to loft a second ball to the back post, where Lloyd lofted a header back across the goal and inside the far post.
Lloyd nearly had a double at the hour mark, as McDonald jarred loose an Ohai cross from the arms of D’Angelo. With the goalkeeper out of the net, the loose ball fell to the feet of Lloyd but her shot was blocked on its way in by defender Abby Dahlkemper.
Houston put forward a few more half-chances to try to extend their lead, but the Flash put heavy pressure on in the final minutes. The Flash looked destined to finally get their goal in the 81st minute when Heyman played a ball right across the face of goal. Midfielder Samantha Mewis looked to have a tap-in for the equalizer, but defender Ella Masar recovered with a sliding block at the last second to deny the attempt.
McLeod was called into action twice more in stoppage time. First, Colombian forward Lady Andrade, making her NWSL debut, curled a shot from the top of the box in the 91st minute. McLeod flew to her left and was able to get two hands on the shot to push the ball away. Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage, McLeod came up with a point-blank kick save on Mewis during a scramble in the box to preserve the win for the Dash.
The Dash return to Houston in a quick turnaround, facing FC Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday night with another chance to leapfrog their opponent in the NWSL standings.
Houston Dash (4-4-5; 17 points) at Western New York Flash (4-6-3; 15 points)
NWSL regular season
July 25, 2015 – Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, New York
Houston Dash: Carli Lloyd 3 (Meghan Klingenberg 1) 49
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Ella Masar ©, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley, Meghan Klingenberg; Jordan Jackson (Rachael Axon 46), Niki Cross (Tiffany McCarty 81), Carli Lloyd; Kealia Ohai, Jessica McDonald, Melissa Henderson (Camila 88)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Melissa Henderson 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Melissa Henderson 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Three players with 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Melissa Henderson 2); SAVES: 12 (Erin McLeod 12)
Western New York Flash: Sabrina D’Angelo; Abby Dahlkemper, Whitney Engen, Brittany Taylor ©, Jaeline Hinkle; Becky Edwards, Halimatu Ayinde (Kristen Edmonds 79), Samantha Mewis; Jasmyne Spencer (Ajara Njoya 89), Michelle Heyman, Elizabeth Eddy (Lady Andrade 62)
Substitutes Not Used: Chantel Jones, Ashley Nick, Kristen Hamilton, Jamia Fields
TOTAL SHOTS: 22 (Samantha Mewis, Jasmyne Spencer 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (Jasmyne Spencer 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (Michelle Heyman 2); CORNER KICKS: 11 (Becky Edwards 10); SAVES: 8 (Nicole Barnhart 6)
Referee: Margaret Domka
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Democratis Pashalidis
Fourth Official: Steve Montanino