Kim Little and Seattle Reign FC put an effective end to the Houston Dash’s postseason hopes with a hat trick and a 3-0 result at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night.
The Dash, while still mathematically alive for the playoffs immediately following the loss, would be eliminated from contention if FC Kansas City earns a single point in any of their three remaining matches.
Little began her hat trick at the close of the first half, immediately following a Dash goal ruled out for offside. Dash forward Jessica McDonald settled a cross from defender Jen LaPonte in the penalty area and slotted the ball past Hope Solo, only to have it annulled by the assistant referee’s flag in the 40th minute. Two minutes later, defender Lauren Barnes played a long ball over the Dash defense for Little, who beat Erin McLeod one-on-one for the opener.
The Scot doubled her tally in the 73rd minute. Running alone at the top of the box, Little shot across her body to the far post, just finding the angle to beat McLeod. In the 90th minute, the 2014 NWSL MVP showed her class once again. Little danced parallel to the goal through the penalty area and several Dash defenders before passing McLeod and capping her hat trick.
Despite Little’s brilliance, the Dash had their opportunities in both halves, finishing with 13 shots—though just two were on target. Carli Lloyd fed a pass to McDonald in the box just eight minutes into the match, but the resulting shot was over the bar. Kealia Ohai unleashed a shot after passing between her and Morgan Brian in the box in the 17th minute, but hit it right to Solo from an angle.
McLeod did her best to keep Seattle off the board as much as possible. The Dash keeper made a solid stop on substitute forward Katrine Veje as Megan Rapinoe slipped a pass to her running free in the box. McLeod one-upped herself in the 67th minute, making a spectacular diving reaction save as Jessica Fishlock got a slight touch on a free kick from Rapinoe.
The match took place after rain and lightning delayed the start by an hour, but didn’t stop a crowd of 9,530 from attending the game. The number is the second highest attendance figure in team history, only behind this year’s match on July 12 vs. the Chicago Red Stars (13,025).
The Dash end their home slate next Sunday, August 30 against the Boston Breakers, while Seattle travels back home for a midweek matchup against the same Boston side on Wednesday.
Houston Dash (5-8-5; 20 points) vs. Seattle Reign FC (11-3-3; 36 points)
NWSL regular season
August 21, 2015 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 9,530 (sellout)
Seattle Reign FC: Kim Little 7 (Lauren Barnes 2) 42
Seattle Reign FC: Kim Little 8 (unassisted) 74
Seattle Reign FC: Kim Little 9 (unassisted) 90
Houston Dash: Erin McLeod ©; Jen LaPonte (Allysha Chapman 64), Ellie Brush, Toni Pressley, Meghan Klingenberg; Kealia Ohai, Morgan Brian (Melissa Henderson 46), Rachael Axon, Andressa; Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald (Camila 74)
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger, Jordan Jackson, Tiffany McCarty
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Carli Lloyd 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Kealia Ohai, Carli Lloyd tied with 1); FOULS: 6 (Camila 2); OFFSIDES: 7 (Jessica McDonald 3); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Andressa 3); SAVES: 4 (Erin McLeod 4)
Seattle Reign: Hope Solo; Kendall Fletcher, Lauren Barnes, Rachel Corsie, Stephanie Cox; Keelin Winters ©, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Megan Rapinoe (Elli Reed 79); Merritt Mathias (Mariah Bullock 83), Beverly Yanez (Katrine Veje 36)
Substitutes Not Used: Haley Kopmeyer, Kiersten Dallstream, Amber Brooks, Danielle Foxhoven
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Merritt Mathias, Kim Little tied with 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Kim Little 4); FOULS: 8 (Megan Rapinoe 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (Kim Little, Beverly Yanez, Merritt Mathias, Keelin Winters tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Megan Rapinoe 4); SAVES: 2 (Hope Solo 2)
Referee: Matthew Kreitzer
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Christian Gordon
Fourth Official: Christina Hutchinson