SEATTLE – The Houston Dash could not find their footing in a match against the current NWSL leaders as they fell 2-0 to Seattle Reign FC at Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.
Kim Little led the way for the Reign with two first-half goals as the team remained unbeaten and untied on the season (3-0-0, 9 points) to top the NWSL standings. The Dash dropped their second game of the year to fall to 1-2-0 (3 points).
The Reign controlled play for much of the evening, and were rewarded for it in the 19th minute. Jessica Fishlock took a quick free kick down Houston’s right side to free Sydney Leroux, who went one-on-one with Becky Edwards into the box and was tripped up by the Dash midfielder to earn a penalty for Seattle. Little stepped up to take the penalty kick and converted from the spot.
Little struck again twenty minutes later with the same composure she showed taking the penalty kick. Goebel sent a knifing pass in between the Dash center backs and Little settled the ball, shifted around goalkeeper Erin McLeod and a couple of Dash defenders and finished on the open net. The goal was Seattle’s eighth in three games, best in the league.
The deficit could have been greater if it weren’t for the heroics of McLeod, who was credited with three saves on the night. The highlight was an acrobatic, diving stop on a Keelin Winters drive from 35 yards away. The Canadian international displayed impressive range to leap and palm the hard-hit shot over the crossbar.
The Dash were quiet on the offensive end for much of the game, but did manage a couple of chances that nearly brought them back into the match. Ella Masar nearly knocked in her second goal of the year as she pushed an attempt across the face of goal in a goalmouth scramble on the final play of the first half. Second half substitute Kika Toulouse forced Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo into a reaction save in the 58th minute as she blistered a shot from inside the box right at Solo, who could only deflect the shot high and over the goal.
Seattle’s Sydney Leroux thought she had the final tally of the evening during stoppage time as she was all alone behind the Dash defense at the midfield line. Leroux charged the goal and rounded McLeod inside the box, but her shot attempt bounced off the outside of the post.
The Dash return home this weekend to face FC Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, while Seattle has a short turnaround to play Sky Blue FC in New Jersey on Wednesday.
Houston Dash at Seattle Reign FC
April 27, 2014—Moda Health Pitch at Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
NWSL Regular Season
Seattle: Kim Little (penalty) 19
Seattle: Kim Little (Beverly Goebel) 38
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Arianna Romero, Osinachi Ohale, Holly Hein, Nikki Washington (Stephanie Ochs 67); Jordan Jackson, Teresa Noyola (Marissa Diggs 46), Becky Edwards; Lindsay Elston, Ella Masar, Kealia Ohai (Kika Toulouse 46)
Unused Substitutes: Bianca Henninger, Tiffany McCarty, Dominique Richardson
Seattle Reign FC: Hope Solo; Elli Reed, Lauren Barnes, Kendall Fletcher, Stephanie Cox; Keelin Winters, Jessica Fishlock (Kate Deines 90), Kim Little; Nahomi Kawasumi, Beverly Goebel (Danielle Foxhoven 71), Sydney Leroux
Unused Substitutes: Mariah Nogueira, Megan Rapinoe, Haley Kopmeyer, Kiersten Dallstream, Megan Brigman
HOU: Ella Masar (caution) 2
SRFC: Elli Reed (caution) 36
SRFC: Keelin Winters (caution) 62
HOU: Osinachi Ohale (caution) 77
Referee: Matthew Franz
Referee’s Assistants: Rebekah Friedrich, Adrienne McDonald
Fourth Official: David Mon