BOYDS, Md.—The Houston Dash and Washington Spirit were equal for much of Saturday night at Maureen Hendricks Field. The difference for Washington—as she has been all season—was forward Crystal Dunn and her second half goal as the Dash fell 1-0 on the road.
Dunn’s individual brilliance gave Washington the lead in the 56th minute. Defender Toni Pressley went to ground on the rain-soaked field on a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge in the corner, and Dunn cut into the box. She got away a left-footed shot that rocketed over Dash keeper Bianca Henninger, off the underside of the crossbar and over the line for her league-leading seventh goal of the year. It ended a 315-minute shutout streak for the Dash.
The first half didn’t see many chances, but the Dash controlled much of the tempo. The Dash had an early opportunity in the third minute, as forward Jessica McDonald laid off a pass for Melissa Henderson rushing into the box on the left side but her shot took a deflection and bounced softly to goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Half an hour in, Rachael Axon flicked on a long throw-in from McDonald to Kealia Ohai in front of goal, but Ohai couldn’t get her shot away.
Washington didn’t threaten much on goal, but Dunn and Laura del Rio used their speed to get to the endline and put dangerous crosses into the box that weren’t able to find a teammate on the other end. The Spirit looked as if they may have pulled ahead two minutes after the break as Tori Huster latched onto a corner kick, but Camila blocked the shot off the goal line from point-blank range.
Just before the Dunn goal, Ohai tried a low shot after the Spirit goalkeeper turned the ball over, but Wys dove to her right to tip the ball just past the goal. Houston had to chase the game in the second half after Dunn’s strike, but Wys came up with the required saves to keep the lead.
Ohai turned up again in the 84th minute, working free inside the penalty area and unleashing a right-footed shot curling to the far post only to be denied by a spectacular flying save by Wys.
The Dash now have a free weekend before hosting the Chicago Red Stars on July 12 in what is scheduled to be the first match for the team’s returning World Cup players. Washington travels to face FC Kansas City next Friday, July 3.
Houston Dash (3-3-4, 13 points) at Washington Spirit (5-3-2, 17 points)
NWSL regular season
June 27, 2015 – Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex
Washington: Crystal Dunn 7 (unassisted) 56
Houston Dash: Bianca Henninger; Ella Masar ©, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley, Camila (Jen LaPonte 68); Melissa Henderson (Jordan Jackson 72), Niki Cross, Rachael Axon (Allie Bailey 78), Tiffany McCarty; Kealia Ohai, Jessica McDonald
Substitutes not used: Jordan Day, Cami Privett
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Kealia Ohai 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Kealia Ohai 3); FOULS: 9 (Ellie Brush 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Kealia Ohai 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Melissa Henderson 4); SAVES: 5 (Bianca Henninger 4)
Washington Spirit: Kelsey Wys; Whitney Church, Megan Oyster, Tori Huster ©, Caprice Dydasco; Christine Nairn, Joanna Lohman, Angela Salem; Amanda Da Costa (Jennifer Skogerboe 90+2), Crystal Dunn, Laura del Rio (Tiffany Weimer 90)
Substitutes not used: Lyndse Hokanson, Katherine Reynolds
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Crystal Dunn 9); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Crystal Dunn 4); FOULS: 6 (Amanda Da Costa, Laura del Rio 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Crystal Dunn 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Christine Nairn 5); SAVES: 4 (Kelsey Wys 4)
HOU: Camila (caution) 55
HOU: Ellie Brush (caution) 78
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Greeson, Michael Piercey
Fourth Official: Corson Fidler