Post-match interviews follow the recap. Randy Waldrum, Carli Lloyd, Ashlyn Harris and Toni Pressley all spoke with the press last night.
The Houston Dash entered Saturday night having lost all three of their matches against the expansion Orlando Pride this year. Outside of the three wins over the Dash, the Pride have shown predictable expansion team struggles, going 3-10-0 against all other NWSL teams.
The Dash, coming off of a mid-week 3-1 win away to the Boston Breakers, were itching to set the record straight and move past the Pride in the standings. In a performance that was largely dominant, apart from a late slip up that allowed the Pride to get back into the match, the Dash achieved their objectives.
Playing without anyone in a true forward position, the Dash controlled possession throughout. There was a clear intent to attack the Pride fullbacks, with the red hot Kealia Ohai and the speedy Janine Beckie pushed out wide to the flanks.
All of the possession and wide penetration came to very little without a strong presence in the box, however. While the Dash racked up nine shots in the first half, nearly all of those were from outside the box.
The one that was not, however, put the Dash up 1-0 in the 24th minute. A counter-attack saw Ohai surge forward before passing to Carli Lloyd. The Pride defense pushed Lloyd away from goal and towards their right side of the box. Just as the move looked like it would lead to nothing, Lloyd hit a low blind pass across the box that Beckie was able to run onto and put past Ashlyn Harris in goal.
In the first few minutes of the second half, it looked like it would be more of the same; Dash possession but few clear cut chances. A 49th minute corner kick changed that. It was an extremely rare goal from a set piece for the Dash, one that came from Poliana after her first attempt was denied by Harris. The rebound fell back to the Brazilian fullback’s feet and she made sure to drive the second chance home.
With Orlando having to open up to try and chase the game, the Dash began to take full advantage of their pace out wide and the chances came quickly. Harris was put to work on more than one occasion and kept Orlando in the game. There was nothing she could do about the third goal, however.
Ohai, as she has done so often in recent games, cut inside from the left in the 62nd minute and hit a curling shot just inside the far post. It was yet another moment of brilliance from the Dash midfielder, her 8th goal of the season to equal her combined total from 2014 and 2015.
The match looked over as the Dash continued to control possession and threaten. However, they shut off and went into cruise control a bit too early and Alex Morgan made them pay for it in the 80th minute. Off a Kristen Edmonds free kick, Morgan got the ball in the box and put it past Lydia Williams to make it 3-1.
Seven minutes later, things got interesting as Edmonds scored one of her own from the top of the box to make it 3-2.
Warning shots fired, the Dash woke up and the energy levels returned. Chances ensued, and in stoppage time Ohai put the match away with her second of the night. The 4-2 win pushed the Dash up to 7th place past the Pride, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Post-match video recorded by the Keeper Notes team follows:
Segment One – Randy Waldrum Press Conference
Segment Two – Carli Lloyd Press Conference
Segment Three – Ashlyn Harris Press Conference
Segment Four – Toni Pressley Press Conference