The Houston Dash thought they had their unbeaten streak stretched to four games against FC Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night, but a last-minute header snapped their run in a 2-1 loss.
The Dash stood on the cusp of another comeback point, but Frances Silva’s header in the final minute of stoppage time gave Kansas City the victory on the night and the series win, after a 4-0 win and a 2-2 draw in May.
After a quiet opening half-hour, the match livened up with a goalmouth scramble off a Dash corner kick. Osinache Ohale headed the corner back towards goal and Tiffany McCarty tried to poke it past goalkeeper Sarah Keane, but the ball bounced between her and a wall of white jerseys. Kansas City eventually cleared and made it into their attacking third, where Erika Tymrak clanged a 20-yard shot over Bianca Henningers fingers and off the crossbar. Merritt Mathias gathered the rebound, but Henninger recovered to keep the Texas A&M product off the board.
The goalkeeping display belied the fact that both teams were using their second choices, as Erin McLeod and Nicole Barnhart were away on national team duty with Canada and the United States, respectively. Henninger bested Tymrak in the 38th minute with a diving save after the 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year danced through the left side of the Dash penalty area. Keane did the same minutes later for the Blues, reacting well to parry away a hard, dipping shot from Rafaelle Souza. Henninger finished with nine saves on the night.
Jenna Richmond broke the deadlock in the 66th minute with a piece of individual brilliance. The rookie midfielder received a pass with plenty of space 35 yards from goal, picked up her head, and unleashed a shot just outside Henninger’s outstretched arms and just inside the goalpost.
The Dash thought they snatched a point out of the match with barely 10 minutes to play. Becky Edwards got to the near post of a Stephanie Ochs corner kick and nodded a header behind her and past Keane for her first goal of the year.
For the second time this year, though, misfortune hit in the final minute of stoppage time. Tymrak spun away from a group of defenders at the edge of the 18-yard box and curled a cross to the far post that Silva ran under to head in for the last-gasp winner.
The Dash take a break now from NWSL play until June 28 for a home date against the Washington Spirit, but will face the FC Dallas ECNL U-23 squad next Saturday for a friendly match in Dallas. FC Kansas City, unbeaten in their last six games, visit the Chicago Red Stars in a week’s time.
Houston Dash (4-8-1; 13 points) vs. FC Kansas City (7-4-3; 24 points)
NWSL regular season
June 14, 2014 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Kansas City: Jenna Richmond 1 (Erika Tymrak 2) 66
Kansas City: Jen Buczkowski (own goal) 79
Kansas City: Frances Silva 2 (Erika Tymrak 3) 90+4’
FC Kansas City: Sarah Keane; Kassey Kallman, Nikki Phillips, Amy LePeilbet, Leigh Ann Robinson; Jen Buczkowski, Jenna Richmond, Merritt Mathias (Frances Silva 70), Katrina Gorry (Mandy Laddish 78), Erika Tymrak; Melissa Henderson (Morgan Marlborough)
Unused Substitutes: Liz Bogus, Nia Williams
Houston Dash: Bianca Henninger; Arianna Romero, Osinachi Ohale, Marissa Diggs, Stephanie Ochs; Kelly McFarlane, Ella Masar (Tori McCombs 71), Becky Edwards; Tiffany McCarty, Rafaella Souza (Teresa Noyola 46, Jordan Jackson 59), Kealia Ohai
Unused substitutes: Megan Kinneman, Dominique Richardson, Kika Toulouse
Referee: Bernard Hosu
Assistant Referees: Hagan Barnett, Tony Obas
Fourth Official: Stewart Carson Milton