The Houston Dash kicked off their 2016 NWSL campaign with a convincing 3-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars in front of 7,440 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night.
Chicago gained an early upper hand after U.S. Women’s National Team star Christen Press capitalized on a Dash defensive mistake, but goals from rookie forwards Rachel Daly and Janine Beckie and a game-winner from FIFA World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd gave Houston a perfect start to the year.
Press gave the Red Stars the lead in the 13th minute after a miscommunication in the Dash defense. Defender Casey Short played a long ball to the middle of the field, but it rolled past Amber Brooks and Becca Moros to a waiting Press. The forward found herself alone against Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams and shot across her body for the opening goal to negate what had been a bright start for Houston.
The Dash responded less than 10 minutes later to level the match. A long ball forward from Lloyd was initially cut out by Samantha Johnson, but the ball deflected into the path of the on-rushing Daly. Seeing that Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had taken several steps off her line, Daly shot the ball on the run, first time to curl it past Naeher and inside the near post.
Houston nearly grabbed the lead in the 27th minute as Lloyd collected a punched clearance by Naeher at the edge of the penalty area. She dribbled diagonally through the area to find a shooting lane and had the Red Stars keeper beat, but the eventual shot was kept out of the net by a well-positioned Johnson on the line. Chicago had their own opportunity to take a lead into halftime in the 33rd minute with a long-range effort from midfielder Danny Colaprico, but Williams leapt to her left to tip the shot over the bar.
Lloyd got her goal in the 51st minute of the match thanks to an assist from Daly. Beckie picked out a pass to Daly on the left flank, who took a touch and then curled a cross to the back post. Waiting to get a head on it was Lloyd, and she sent the shot back across the face of goal to give Houston the lead.
Three minutes later, Houston put the game away with their third goal of the night. Dash midfielder Andressa played Kealia Ohai behind the Chicago defense with a through ball from the midfield stripe, and Ohai cut the ball back to Beckie near the top of the box. The Canadian international striker had time and neatly placed her shot in the far bottom corner.
The Dash almost added even further to their lead in the 86th minute as substitute Stephanie Ochs—making her return from a torn ACL suffered in April 2015—connected with a cross from Chioma Ubogagu just outside the six-yard box. Naeher was positioned well, however, to make the block and keep the scoreline static as Houston recorded its first-ever win over Chicago.
The Dash now travel to face the Orlando Pride in the expansion team’s inaugural home match on April 23 (6:30 p.m. CT). The team returns to BBVA Compass Stadium for a match against Sky Blue FC on April 29 (7:30 p.m. CT; TICKETS). Chicago plays host to the Western New York Flash next Saturday in their new home, Toyota Park.
Houston Dash (1-0-0, 3 points) vs. Chicago Red Stars (0-1-0, 0 points)
NWSL Regular Season
April 16, 2016—BBVA Compass Stadium—Houston, Texas
Chicago: Christen Press 1 (unassisted) 13
Houston: Rachel Daly 1 (unassisted) 22
Houston: Carli Lloyd 1 (Rachel Daly 1) 51
Houston: Janine Beckie 1 (Kealia Ohai 1) 53
Houston Dash: Lydia Wiliams; Poliana, Becca Moros, Ellie Brush, Allysha Chapman; Carli Lloyd ©, Amber Brooks, Andressa (Caity Heap 88); Rachel Daly, Janine Beckie (Chioma Ubogagu71), Kealia Ohai (Stephanie Ochs 81)
Unused substitutes: Bianca Henninger, Cari Roccaro, Morgan Brian, Cami Privett, Melissa Henderson
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Carli Lloyd 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Rachel Daly, Polina, Carli Lloyd 1, Kealia Ohai, Janine Beckie, Stephanie Ochs tied with 1) FOULS: 5 (Carli Lloyd 2); OFFSIDES: 4 (Kealia Ohai 2) CORNER KICKS: 3 (Andressa 3); SAVES: 3 (Lydia Williams 3)
Chicago Red Stars: Alyssa Naeher; Arin Gilliland, Casey Short, Julie Johnson, Samantha Johnson; Alyssa Mautz (Sarah Gorden 83), Vanessa DiBernardo, Jen Hoy (Courtney Raetzman 63), Danielle Colaprico; Sofia Huertra (Cara Walls 83), Christen Press ©
Unused substitutes: Michele Dalton, Katie Naughton, Courtney Raetzman, Mary Luba, Amanda Da Costa
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Christen Press 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Christen Press 2); FOULS: 8 (Alyssa Mautz 3) OFFSIDES: 2 (Jen Hoy, Christen Press tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Danielle Colaprico 5); SAVES: 3 ( Alyssa Naeher 3)
CHI: Alyssa Mautz (caution) 61
CHI: Samantha Johnson (caution) 76
Referee: Chris Spivey
Assistant Referees: Deleana Quan; Adrienne McDonald
4th Official: Leszek Stalmach