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Photo Credit: Wilf Thorne/ISI Photos
HOUSTON, TX (Aug 18, 2016) – The Washington Spirit (10-3-2, 32 points) claimed sole possession of first place with a 2-1 win against the Houston Dash (3-8-3, 12 points) at BBVA Compass Stadium. The makeup match between the two teams, after the initially scheduled game in May was rescheduled due to inclement weather, restarted the NWSL post Olympics. Christine Nairn, who had yet to score this season, secured the victory for the Spirit with two goals. Kealia Ohai, the top scorer for the Dash, earned the lone goal for the Dash, but it was not enough to win the team the three points.
In the 30th minute, the Spirit earned a penalty kick when Cari Roccaro fouled Cheyna Williams as she was making a run down the left flank into the penalty box. Nairn, who had been on the sidelines after injuring her shoulder getting tangled with defender Ellie Brush, made a heroic return to take the penalty kick. She floated the ball toward the left post, and although goalkeeper Bianca Henninger guessed correctly, she could not get a hand on it, and the Spirit scored its first goal of the match.
In the 63rd minute, Nairn scored her second goal, which increased the Spirit’s lead and later proved the deciding factor in the Spirit rising to the top of the table. The midfielder saw Henninger off her line as she was making a run toward the team’s attacking third. She capitalized on the opportunity and sent an arching ball in from about thirty-five yards out. The shot was too powerful and high for Henninger to defend, and her efforts to do so proved futile.
In the 76th minute the Dash saw its best opportunity of the match up until that point when Amber Brooks challenged Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys on a run in toward the six yard line. Wys jumped to collect the ball but Brooks caused her to fumble the catch. The ball rolled lose in the box for a few seconds before being cleared out by Washington to earn the Dash a corner. The set piece, however, did not provide a goal for the Dash.
Dash forward Chioma Ubogagu spent a good part of the game in the attacking third, and established herself as a real offensive threat from the start of the game. Despite the many opportunities, Ubogagu was not able to convert.
Just a little too late, in the 90th minute Ohai put the Dash on the board with a one touch shot off a cross from Stephanie Ochs. Ohai picked up the lofted pass on a run toward the left post and the angled shot was nearly impossible for Wys to get a hand on. This goal, however, was not enough to secure a draw for Houston.
The Spirit will play its next match on the road against the Orlando Pride on Friday, August 26th. The match in Florida will see the return of more Olympians. The Spirit returns to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday September 3rd to take on Western New York Flash at 7 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets at tickets.washingtonspirit.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit
Date: August 18, 2016
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: 81, mostly cloudy
Washington Spirit Lineup: 18 Kelsey Wys; 3- Caprice Dydasco, 24- Estelle Johnson, 5- Whitney Church, 11-Ali Krieger; 23- Tori Huster, 7-Christine Nairn, 15- Joanna Lohman; 12- Katie Stengel (22- Alyssa Kleiner 72′), 20- Cheyna Williams (14- Francisca Ordega 66′), 17- Cali Farquharson (27- Line Sigvardsen Jensen 84′)
Subs not used: 21- Alli Murphy, 36- DiDi Haracic. 4- Megan Oyster
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Houston Dash Lineup: 1- Bianca Henninger; 4- Becca Moros, 5- Cari Rocarro, 8- Ellie Brush, 23- Cami Privett; 12- Amber Brooks, 21- Melissa Henderson (22- Stephanie Ochs 57′), 13- Denise O’Sullivan, 27- Caity Heap (19- Tessa Florio 57′), 7- Kealia Ohai; 9- Chioma Ubogagu
Subs not used: Monica Alvarado, Bianca Brinson, Haley Carter, Chestley Strother, Anna Maria Gilbertson
Head Coach: Randy Waldrum
|3||90||Houston||Kealia Ohai||Stephanie Ochs|
|75||Houston||23||Cami Privett||Yellow||Reckless Foul|
|92+||Houston||8||Ellie Brush||Yellow||Tactical Foul|
Stats Summary: HOU/WAS
Shots: 16 / 19
Shots on Goal: 6 / 8
Saves: 6 / 5
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 4
Offside: 5/ 1
Referee: Christina Unkel
Assistant Referee 1: Cory Richardson
Assistant Referee 2: Alicia Messer
4th Official: Christa McCurley