It’s Carli Lloyd’s world.
The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball winner continued her goalscoring romp and produced a rocketed shot from 30 yards out in the 86th minute to pull out at 3-2 win for the Houston Dash against FC Kansas City on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dash fell behind early in just the third minute as Heather O’Reilly picked out Lauren Holiday at the top of the box. Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod dove left for Holiday’s shot, but it deflected off the inside of defender Ellie Brush’s foot on its way to goal and caromed the opposite direction and into the goal.
Brush atoned for the unlucky bounce less than 10 minutes after. Dash forward Kealia Ohai saved a ball in the corner and floated a cross to the middle of the penalty area in the 12th minute. Brush, still forward from a corner kick, picked the ball out of the air with a nifty side-volley around her defender to beat FCKC keeper Nicole Barnhart. The goal was Brush’s first in the NWSL.
The Dash followed up shortly thereafter with Jessica McDonald adding her team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 16th minute. Racing down the left side of the field, McDonald cut into the box and beat Barnhart with a near post shot from close range.
Kansas City and the Dash traded chances throughout much of the rest of the game. McLeod, fresh off a 12 save performance against the Western New York Flash on Saturday, was called into action five times on the night, including a full-stretch, diving punch on a shot from Holiday curling away from the keeper. Barnhart did her part as well, getting a toe on a one-on-one attempt from McDonald in the 56th minute to keep the deficit at one.
FCKC began to put more pressure on as the game wore on, finally paying off in the 84th minute of play. Liz Bogus received a pass in the box and banged a shot off the near post, but the ball rebounded directly to substitute forward Sarah Hagen. With McLeod out of position after diving for the initial shot, Hagen passed the ball into the open net for the equalizing goal.
The joy was short lived for Kansas City, as Lloyd scored in her seventh consecutive match and her second game-winner in a row just two minutes later. Lloyd received a pass from Niki Cross—playing in her final game in Houston after announcing her retirement—and took a touch into space 30 yards from goal. Lloyd hammered the ball into the upper 90 to put the Dash ahead for good.
The win vaulted the Dash over FC Kansas City in the NWSL standings, into the fourth and final playoff spot. Houston travels to take on the third-place Washington Spirit on Saturday.
Houston Dash (5-4-5; 20 points) vs. FC Kansas City (5-6-3; 18 points)
NWSL regular season
July 29, 2015 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
FC Kansas City: Lauren Holiday 1 (Amy Rodriguez 1) 3
Houston Dash: Ellie Brush 1 (Kealia Ohai 4) 12
Houston Dash: Jessica McDonald 6 (Meghan Klingenberg 2) 17
FC Kansas City: Sarah Hagen 2 (unassisted) 84
Houston Dash: Carli Lloyd 4 (Niki Cross 1) 86
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Ella Masar ©, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley, Meghan Klingenberg; Morgan Brian (Niki Cross 46), Andressa, Carli Lloyd; Melissa Henderson (Camila 64), Jessica McDonald, Kealia Ohai (Tiffany McCarty 88)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger, Jordan Jackson, Rachael Axon
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Carli Lloyd 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald tied with 2); FOULS: 7 (Ellie Brush 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Kealia Ohai 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Melissa Henderson 7); SAVES: 5 (Erin McLeod 5)
FC Kansas City: Nicole Barnhart, Leigh Ann Robinson, Amy LePeilbet, Becky Sauerbrunn ©, Becca Moros (Sarah Hagen 80); Mandy Laddish (Frances Silva 90 +1), Jen Buczkowski; Heather O’Reilly, Lauren Holiday, Erika Tymrak (Liz Bogus 62); Amy Rodriguez
Substitutes Not Used: Katelyn Rowland, Yael Averbuch
TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (Lauren Holiday 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Lauren Holiday 4); FOULS: 3 (Leigh Ann Robinson, Jen Buczkowski, Erika Tymrak tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Amy Rodriguez 1); CORNER KICKS: 11 (Lauren Holiday 11); SAVES: 3 (Nicole Barnhart 3)
Referee: Matthew Mercier
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Garner, Christa McCurley
Fourth Official: Kyle Phillips