The Houston Dash had no let-down coming out of the Women’s World Cup break, putting in one of their most complete performances of the season in a 2-0 win over the Western New York Flash at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Jessica McDonald scored her fifth goal of the season and Kealia Ohai added her third of the year as the Dash extended their unbeaten run to five games. Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger added her league-leading fourth shutout.
McDonald came close to the opening goal in the 25th minute, curling a shot from the top of the box that Flash goalkeeper Chantel Jones got a finger on, tipping it off the far post to keep matters scoreless.
The Dash broke through fourteen minutes later, however. Defender Ellie Brush pushed forward on the right side and bombed a cross to the top of the penalty box. McDonald ran onto it and got a header away from 14 yards out, looping it just over the outstretched arm of Jones and into the upper corner. McDonald’s fifth goal set a club record for goals in a season, and it was Brush’s first NWSL assist.
Western New York came out of the halftime break with more attacking intent, but never provided much for Henninger to deal with. Jasmyne Spencer tried a shot from distance in the 59th minute for Western New York’s only shot on target, but Henninger didn’t have to move to make the catch.
In the 63rd minute, Ohai provided the insurance goal. Melissa Henderson led a counter-attack for the Dash and found the forward at the edge of the penalty box. Ohai turned her defender, then picked out the far corner with a shot from 17 yards out.
The Dash held on comfortably for the remainder of the match, almost tacking on a third in the 83rd minute when Ohai picked up a cleared Flash corner kick. The speedy forward sprinted from the edge of her penalty area to the opposing goal, outpacing a group of defenders. Her one-on-one shot was stopped well by Jones, who then blocked the follow-up attempt from substitute Allie Bailey.
Houston travels next to take on the Washington Spirit next Saturday, while the Flash are on the road against the Boston Breakers on the following Sunday.
Houston Dash (3-2-4; 13 points) vs. Western New York Flash (3-4-1; 10 points)
NWSL regular season
June 20, 2015 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Houston Dash: Jessica McDonald 5 (Ellie Brush 1) 24
Houston Dash: Kealia Ohai 3 (Melissa Henderson 2) 63
Houston Dash: Bianca Henninger; Ella Masar ©, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley, Camila Pereira; Melissa Henderson (Allie Bailey 76), Niki Cross, Brittany Bock (Rachael Axon 72), Tiffany McCarty (Jordan Jackson 82); Kealia Ohai, Jessica McDonald
Substitutes Not Used: Jordan Day, Jen LaPonte, Cami Privett, Jazmyne Avant
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Kealia Ohai 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Kealia Ohai, Jessica McDonald, Allie Bailey tied with 2); FOULS: 6 (Six players tied with 1); OFFSIDES: 2 (Kealia Ohai 2); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Melissa Henderson 2); SAVES: 1 (Bianca Henninger 1)
Western New York Flash: Chantel Jones; Jaelene Hinkle, Brittany Taylor ©, Abby Dahlkemper , Kristen Edmonds (Chelsea Stewart 76); Becky Edwards, Samantha Mewis, Ashley Nick (Elizabeth Eddy 59); Jamia Fields, Lynn Williams (Kristen Hamilton 59), Jasmyne Spencer
Substitutes Not Used: Sabrina D’Angelo, Amanda Frisbie
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Abby Dahlkemper, Jasmyne Spencer 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Jasmyne Spencer 1); FOULS: 6 (Jamia Fields 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Jamia Fields, Lynn Williams, Kristen Hamilton tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Becky Edwards 8); SAVES: 6 (Chantel Jones 6)
HOU: Ella Masar (caution) 74
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referees: Amanda Ross, Rachel Smith
Fourth Official: Greg Dopka