PISCATAWAY, NJ — The Houston Dash earned a come-from-behind point on the road with a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field on Saturday night.
Sky Blue got on the board first with a 14th minute goal from Katy Freels, but the Dash responded in the second half with a goal from forward Jessica McDonald to keep both teams unbeaten to start the year.
The Dash nearly jumped out to a quick lead in the 5th minute as Carli Lloyd raced to beat goalkeeper Brittany Cameron to a loose ball in the box. With the keeper out of position, Lloyd crossed into the box but Kristin Grubka blocked the resulting header from Melissa Henderson off the line.
Sky Blue grabbed the lead less than 10 minutes later as they restarted play quickly after a handball near midfield and raced downfield with the Dash defense on its heels. Kelley O’Hara dribbled to the endline on the left side, then cut a pass back to Katy Freels seven yards out from goal. Freels roofed her shot over Erin McLeod for her first goal of the season.
Houston responded right out of the gates in the second half. Morgan Brian latched onto the end of an Allysha Chapman through ball to get alone on the right side. The No. 1 draft pick floated in a cross that went over the fingertips of goalkeeper Brittany Cameron, allowing Jessica McDonald to redirect the ball into the goal from close range.
The Dash remained the aggressors after the goal, looking for all three points on the night. McDonald came close to providing the winner on two occasions. In the 73rd minute, she curled a shot from inside the box to the far post but was denied by a diving fingertip save from Cameron. McDonald then had a diving header off a Meghan Klingenberg cross go into the turf and looked headed on goal but was deflected over by a Sky Blue defender.
Saturday’s match was the first of the season for Canadian internationals McLeod, Chapman and Sesselmann as they joined the team in New Jersey from national team training camp. It was also the Dash debuts for Chapman, acquired over the offseason, and Sesselmann, who missed the entirety of the 2014 season with a torn ACL.
Both team next play on Sunday, April 26, as the Dash (1-0-1, 4 points) return to the East Coast to face the Boston Breakers and Sky Blue (1-0-1, 4 points) hosts the Washington Spirit.
Sky Blue FC (1-0-1, 4 points) vs. Houston Dash (1-0-1, 4 points)
NWSL regular season
April 18, 2015 — Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ
Scoring by Period: 1 2 F
Houston Dash 0 1 1
Sky Blue FC 1 0 1
Sky Blue FC: Katy Freels 1 (Kelley O’Hara 1) 14
Houston Dash: Jessica McDonald 1 (Morgan Brian 1) 52
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Allysha Chapman (Tiffany McCarty 80), Niki Cross ©, Lauren Sesselmann (Stephanie Ochs 46), Meghan Klingenberg; Carli Lloyd, Ashley Nick, Morgan Brian; Melissa Henderson (Ella Masar 56), Jessica McDonald, Kealia Ohai
Unused Substitues: Bianca Henninger, Rachael Axon
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Carli Lloyd 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Jessica McDonald 2); SAVES: 3 (Erin McLeod 3); CORNER KICKS: 11 (Stephanie Ochs 5); OFFSIDES: 2 (Kealia Ohai 2); FOULS: 9 (Morgan Brian, Allysha Chapman tied with 2)
Sky Blue FC: Brittany Cameron; Cami Levin, Christie Rampone © (Lo’eau Labonta 68), Kristin Grubka, Kelley O’Hara; Maya Hayes, Lindsi Cutshall, Sarah Killion, Shawna Gordon (Kim DeCesare 78); Katy Freels, Nadia Nadim (Meg Morris 46)
Unused Substitutes: Aubrey Bledsoe, Nikki Stanton, Theresa Diederich
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Katy Freels 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Katy Freels 2); SAVES: 3 (Brittany Cameron 3); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Katy Freels 1); OFFSIDES: 3 (Three players tied with 3); FOULS: 5 (Katy Freels 2)
SBFC: Katy Freels (caution) 90
Referee: Elvis Mahmutovic
Assistant Referees: Maggie Short, Stephen Danisi
Fourth Official: Neil Barbulescu