The Houston Dash’s playoff dreams took a hit on Wednesday night as they surrendered an early lead to NWSL leaders Seattle Reign FC in a 2-1 loss at Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium. With the win, Seattle became the first team this season to clinch a postseason berth.
The Dash, entering the match with an opportunity to jump into fifth place in the league standings, got off to one of their best starts of the season against Seattle.
Lauren Barnes partially cleared a long ball into the box from Andressa in the 15th minute, but the ball fell to Kealia Ohai at the edge of the penalty area. The second-year forward collected took a touch into the area, and picked out a low shot at the far post to beat goalkeeper Hope Solo for the early lead.
Seattle responded seven minutes later on a breakaway. Megan Rapinoe flicked a pass into space from midfield for Merritt Mathias to run onto. Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod raced off her line to challenge for the ball but the ball popped straight up into Mathias’ path. The Dash argued that Mathias used her arm to bring the ball back down, but the call wasn’t given and Mathias scored on the empty net.
The teams traded off spells of pressure during the first half of play. Moments before Ohai’s goal, McLeod dove low to her right to get a finger on a shot from Kim Little from 10 yards out. The touch was just enough to send the shot wide of the far post. Little also had a penalty shout in the 44th minute after Ohai stripped her of the ball in the box, but referee Cedric Adams waved off the complaint.
After a fairly even first half, Seattle took charge quickly in the second, rattling off eight shots in the half. In the 52nd minute, Jessica Fishlock ran onto a corner kick at the near post but rattled her shot off the crossbar. Reign FC earned another corner kick in the 53rd minute, this time defender Rachel Corsie getting free to head a shot over McLeod. Much like in her World Cup match against Sweden, however, Dash defender Meghan Klingenberg was positioned on the line to head the shot away.
Corsie got her goal almost five minutes later, again off a corner kick. Stephanie Cox played the ball to the back post and found an unmarked Corsie, who powered the header past McLeod to give Seattle the lead.
From there, Seattle was able to see the match out without too many scares for the equalizer from the Dash. With the loss, the Dash remain in sixth place in the league standings, five points behind the Washington Spirit for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Both teams have the weekend off before meeting each other for the second consecutive week on August 21 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
Houston Dash (5-7-5; 20 points) at Seattle Reign FC (10-3-3; 33 points)
NWSL Regular Season
August 12, 2015 – Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium, Seattle, Washington
Houston Dash: Kealia Ohai 4 (unassisted) 15
Seattle Reign FC: Merritt Mathias 2 (Megan Rapinoe 4) 22
Seattle Reign FC: Rachel Corsie 2 (Stephanie Cox 2) 59
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod; Ella Masar ©, Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley (Camila 80), Meghan Klingenberg; Kealia Ohai, Rachael Axon, Morgan Brian, Andressa; Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald (Melissa Henderson 67)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger, Jen LaPonte, Tiffany McCarty
TOTAL SHOTS: 4 (Kealia Ohai 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Kealia Ohai 2); FOULS: 8 (Carli Lloyd 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Melissa Henderson 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Andressa 3); SAVES: 4 (Erin McLeod 4)
Seattle Reign FC: Hope Solo; Kendall Fletcher, Rachel Corsie, Lauren Barnes, Stephanie Cox; Keelin Winters ©, Kim Little, Jessica Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe (Katrine Veje 90+3); Beverly Yanez (Amber Brooks 87), Merritt Mathias (Elli Reed 84)
Substitutes Not Used: Caroline Stanley, Michelle Cruz, Danielle Foxhoven, Mariah Bullock
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Merritt Mathias 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Merritt Mathias 2); FOULS: 10 (Megan Rapinoe 3); OFFSIDES: 5 (Merritt Mathias 3); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Megan Rapinoe 2); SAVES: 2 (Hope Solo 2)
HOU: Ella Masar (caution) 70
HOU: Ellie Brush (caution) 90
Referee: Cedric Adams
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Kelsey Harms
Fourth Official: Charles Spaniola