Saturday, July 22, 2017

Houston Dash extend unbeated streak to six after 1-0 win over Boston.

Rachel Daly (3) rushes to congratulate Dash teammate
Nichelle Prince after her first-half goal against Boston.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 22, 2017) After a 90-minute severe weather delay that dropped over one inch of rain on the downtown Houston area, the Houston Dash and the Boston Breakers took to the pitch for their scheduled NWSL game inside BBVA Compass Stadium on late Saturday evening. Scoring the only goal of the match in the first half, the Dash pulled out a 1-0 win and extended their unbeaten streak to six.

The Dash struck for the lone goal in the 23rd minute when Nichelle Prince took a pass from Andressinha and sent the ball into the net past Breaker goalkeeper Abby Smith. It was the third goal of the season for the Canadian who played her college soccer at Ohio State and the third assist for the Brazilian, who played in all four matches for Brazil at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. After some spirited play by both sides, they headed to the locker room at halftime with the Dash lead holding at one.

In the second half, both teams seems to slow down a bit; either focusing on more precise play or due to the humidity after the earlier rainfall. Either way, neither were able to find the back of the goal after numerous attacks and the defensive play of the goalkeepers.

The game saw the return of forward Carli Lloyd after her one-game red card suspension from the Dash game against the Portland Thorns on July 8. Lloyd returned to the Dash in the tenth game of the season on March 28 after her stint of play for Manchester City. Houston was 2-7-0 during Lloyd's absence and 4-0-2 since she returned to Houston. Lloyd talked about the win with the press after the game.

“Yeah it’s been huge and I’m really proud of the group. I think this half of the season we’re responding really well and there is no doubt in my mind that we are a playoff team. We could even go on to win an NWSL Championship, but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We have to focus on just one game at a time, which is what I think we’re doing. Tonight was obviously a grind, you never want to make any excuses, but these storms that keep rolling in make it really humid for us to play in. Given that we got the result and a great goal by (FW) Nichelle (Prince) I thought everyone contributed and did really well. It’s huge to get those 3 points going into the international break and we just have to come back and keep it rolling.”

With the win, Houston raised their season record to 6-7-2 (20 points) and gave interim head coach Omar Morales a 4-2-2 record since taking over in June. Morales stated after the game:

 “I thought it was good. It’s been a couple of games we get into it, we score an early goal and then we kill the game off and keep it a one goal difference, or a tie against Portland. I thought the team played well at certain times, kept the ball pretty well. Every situation (Boston) created, was when we got sloppy with the ball which was obviously something we need to fix moving forward.”

The victory also gave the Dash their first back-to-back home wins in franchise history and pushed the record against Boston to 6-2-1. Their next match will be on Saturday, August 5 where they will face the Thorns at Providence Park in Portland. 

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