This Wednesday night saw a bottom of the table clash, with the Houston Dash hosting the Boston Breakers at the BBVA Compass Stadium. With just five wins between the teams through the season so far, playoffs are a distant dream but three points would be vital for gaining some confidence and momentum in what's been a tricky season. Unfortunately, neither side could get the win - the match ending in a scoreless draw.
Houston Dash put up the numbers, can't score
Following on from their impressive 2-0 win over the Orlando Pride last Saturday, the Dash was looking to get points in consecutive matches for the first time in the 2017 season. However, they would have to do it without club captain Kealia Ohai, after it was confirmed on Monday that she'd torn her ACL.
After a bitty opening ten minutes, the home side really started to assert their domination on the Breakers side. The Dash dominated possession, and the early chances - the best of which was a Carli Lloyd header opportunity that was deflected just wide with the goal gaping.
Houston had almost 60% possession throughout the game and was finding openings, taking 17 shots in total, but their real downfall was hitting only four of these on target. Sammy Jo Prudhomme, making just her second start for Boston, had four comfortable saves on the night.
The most impressive stat of the night was probably the 82% passing accuracy put up by the Dash - a standout figure in terms of league averages, but again they failed to make anything good come from it.
Boston stuck with it, denied late winner
Despite being under pressure for much of the match, the Boston Breakers did a nice job of sticking with the home side and making shots of their own. Both Natasha Dowie and Margaret Purce looked to make nuisances of themselves throughout the match. These two players combined in the 25th minute to set up Purce on a breakaway chance but Dash defender Cami Levin made an excellently-timed sliding tackle to protect her goal.
The Breakers themselves only managed three efforts on target, but in the 83rd minute, they surely thought they had won the match when the ball hit the back of the net.
A nice passing move ended with substitute Adriana Leon in space at the top of the box and hitting a left-footed shot goalwards. It hit teammate Dowie and the deflection left Jane Campbell wrong-footed, but the referee deemed that the shot was an illegal handball from Dowie - although the highlights reel indicates that this was a very harsh call, as her hands were tucked into her body.
Big opportunities this coming weekend
Although three points were what both teams craved, a shutout is still a good result for two teams that have been struggling defensively this year. On Saturday the Breakers play host to 7th-placed Washington Spirit, which will be a big opportunity for them to move off the bottom of the table. The Dash have an extra rest day, although they have to travel to face FC Kansas City on Sunday.