On a rainy night at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houston Dash hosted the Washington Spirit for a decisive three points. Although the Spirit were able to come back and rally a little bit for the second half, Houston's Brazilians as well as the solid rookie goalkeeper Jane Campbell were able to help their team earn three points at home.
Poliana leads the way again
From the start of the half, the Dash were very much on the attack. In the second minute, Camille Levin played a ball over the backline and Nichelle Prince made the diagonal run towards goal for it, but goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was there to collect. That didn't discourage the Dash though, with Rachel Daly and Poliana both took turns trying to put their name on the score sheet, but Labbé was quick to deny them the chance. A few fouls were exchanged between teams, but nothing too severe. Spirits' Mallory Pugh was able to charge down the field through the Dash defense and take a shot on goalkeeper Jane Campbell, but she was there to hit away the initial shot and eventually collect the rebound. The Dash were able to break through only minutes later when they earned their second corner in a row, playing it short. Janine Beckie sent in a high cross and Poliana was able to head it past Labbé for a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute.
The Spirit were eager to answer the Dash's goal, but Campbell would not allow it. They earned a corner in the 29th minute, and Janien Van Wyk's clearance fell to defender Shelina Zadorsky, who blasted a shot at the top of the box, but Campbell jumped up to tip it over the bar. Daly and Pugh exchanged chances on opposite ends of the field, with Daly's header goes high and Pugh's shot being saved by a diving Jane Campbell. Estefani Banini tried her luck in the 42nd minute, but Campbell once again was able to preven the Spirit from equalizing. The Dash were able to hold on long enough to enter the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
Dash add on, Spirit manage to get one back
Four substitutions overall entered at the start of the second half, two for each team respectively. The Dash were still hungry for another goal and it was evident within the first minute of the match when Andressinha cracked a shot that went just wide of the goal. Only a few minutes later, they were able to double their lead. In the 53rd minute, Daly received the ball and went endline, playing the ball towards the top of the box. Andressinha shot a brilliant one-touch from just outside the box and it rocketed into the net past Labbé. The home side was up 2-0, thanks to their resident Brazilians.
The Spirit weren't giving up yet, though. The urgency for another goal was evident in the way they were quickly countering every chance they got. Although the Dash did have another opportunity or two towards goal, the Spirit weren't allowing it. The two sides exchanged chances until finally in the 75th minute, Washington was able to break through. Defense Estelle Johnson was able to slot in a goal near post just past Campbell's reach to get one back for her club. The Spirit were eager to find an equalizer in the last 15 minutes of the match, but the Dash were set on staying put and finishing out the game. In stoppage time, the Spirit earned a free kick and the Dash defense was able to head it out for a corner. Just before the Spirit were set to take it, the whistle blew signaling the end of the game with the Dash taking away the full three points.
Next week, the Houston Dash host the Boston Breakers while the Washington Spirit travel west to face the Portland Thorns.