The Houston Dash dropped an opportunity to take control of their playoff positioning with a 2-0 loss to Sky Blue FC at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night.
Sky Blue capitalized on goals in both halves from Nadia Nadim and Sam Kerr to snatch an important road win to keep their playoff hopes alive with just four games remaining in the regular season.
Sky Blue capped a strong first half with a deserved goal from Nadim in the 38th minute. A deflected cross went straight through the Dash penalty area to Sky Blue defender Cami Levin and goalkeeper Erin McLeod rushed off her line to cut down the angle on goal. Levin was able to lift a cross to the middle of the box, however, and Nadim dove to beat her defender and head the ball into the open net.
Dash forward Melissa Henderson produced the best chances for the Dash in the first 45 minutes, getting behind the Sky Blue defense on a couple of occasions. In the 27th minute, a ball bounced once in the box and Henderson held off her defender to get a shot away. Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron leaped to push the shot off the inside of the far post, and defender Lindsi Cutshall cleared the rebound off the goal line.
Houston came out in the second half with more attacking intent, but still wasn’t able to beat Cameron. Jessica McDonald separated from her defender in the 58th minute to get on the end of a cross from Kealia Ohai, but the header fell just over the crossbar. Carli Lloyd set up to take a 25 yard free kick five minutes later and curled her attempt around the wall, headed inside the post. Cameron leapt alertly to her left to get her hands on the shot and keep the Dash off the scoreboard.
Substitute forward Tiffany McCarty intercepted a pass in the final third and broke into the penalty box in the 70th minute with Cameron charging off her line. McCarty tried to chip the keeper as she closed down, but didn’t get the right spin on the ball as it turned wide of the empty goal.
Two minutes later, Sky Blue doubled their lead. Australian forward Sam Kerr looked to be home free on a breakaway attempt, but defender Ella Masar made a sliding tackle to block her shot attempt at the top of the penalty area. However, the rebound remained right in front of Kerr and she recovered to place her follow-up attempt past McLeod, who had come off her line.
The Dash fought to get back in the game, but continued to be frustrated in front of the net. In the 90th minute, Ohai again delivered a cross into the box but Lloyd wasn’t able to redirect her header on frame. Lloyd would have one more chance in stoppage time as Andressa chipped her behind the defense, but Cameron came off her line again to get a touch on the ball as Lloyd attempted to round her.
The loss is Houston’s second consecutive after going three games without a defeat. The team travels to Seattle next week for a Wednesday matchup against the league leaders, Reign FC.
Houston Dash (5-6-5; 20 points) vs. Sky Blue FC (4-7-5; 17 points)
NWSL Regular Season
August 7, 2015 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Sky Blue FC: Nadia Nadim 8 (Cami Levin 1) 38
Sky Blue FC: Samantha Kerr 2 (unassisted) 72
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Ella Masar ©, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley (Rachael Axon 78), Meghan Klingenberg; Morgan Brian, Andressa, Carli Lloyd; Kealia Ohai; Jessica McDonald, Melissa Henderson (Tiffany McCarty 69)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger, Camila, Jen LaPonte, Jordan Jackson
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Melissa Henderson 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Andressa, Carli Lloyd, Melissa Henderson tied with 1); FOULS: 8 (Carli Lloyd 5); OFFSIDES: 4 (Kealia Ohai 3); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Melissa Henderson 5); SAVES: 3 (Erin McLeod 3)
Sky Blue FC: Brittany Cameron; Caitlin Foord, Christie Rampone ©, Lindsi Cutshall, Cami Levin; Kelley O’Hara, Katy Freels (Taylor Lytle 82), Sarah Killion, Nikki Stanton; Nadia Nadim, Samantha Kerr
Substitutes Not Used: Aubrey Bledsoe, Hayley Haagsma, CoCo Goodson, Jonelle Filigno
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Samantha Kerr, Nadia Nadim tied with 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Nadia Nadim 2); FOULS: 6 (Nadia Nadim 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Cami Levin, Samantha Kerr, Nadia Nadim tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Kelley O’Hara 7); SAVES: 2 (Brittany Cameron 2)
SBFC: Sarah Killion (caution) 45+2
Referee: Christopher Spivey
Assistant Referees: Benjamin Wooten, Francisco Bermudez
Fourth Official: Michael Lavergne