Houston Dash steal a victory at Orlando Pride in the NWSL opening match of the week
Despite not having a good game, Houston Dash capitan Kealia Ohai was key in Houston's comeback against Orlando (Photo: Houston Dash twitter)

In a game dominated by the Orlando Pride, the Houston Dash went into Orlando and snatch a victory away. Taillies by Kealia Ohai and Sofia Huerta in the final 11 minutes of the match powered Houston's comeback against Orlando for a 2-1 win. Orlando dominated possession throughout the entire match but were unable to finish their many chances. Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell stood tall against a dangerous Orlando making five saves. Despite a controversial goal by Alex Morgan, Houston did not quit. Houston showed some life after Morgan's goal and was able put pressure on Orlando’s defense. Houston’s first shot on goal did not come until the 38th minute from Huerta. Huerta would be important in the match’s late stages.

Pride domination

The Houston Dash gave Orlando Pride too much time and space throughout the match. Alanna Kennedy, Christine Nairn, Carson Pickett, Polina and Dani Weatherholt connected on long balls to Alex Morgan, Marta, and Kristen Edmonds the entire night. In the 13th minute Orlando executed a series of passes that sent Morgan past Houston’s backline forcing Australian international Clare Polkinghorne to foul Morgan in the box giving Orlando a penalty kick. Morgan would hit the post on the penalty kick and the ball was cleared. Nine minutes later controversy reared its ugly head.

In the 21st minute Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky pushed forward to receive a crossing ball from Nairn. Zadorsky may have been offside but she continued to play and crossed the ball across the face of goal finding a wide open Morgan who tapped it home. The Houston Dash defenders stopped playing thinking the play was offside and may have seen the offside flag go up from the sideline referee. Even after Morgan put the ball in the net she seemed to react as if the play was called offside. Nobody in the stadium knew what the call was. Head referee Kevin Broadley pointed to the center spot indicating a good goal. Polkinghorne’s head may have deflected the ball from Nairn making Zadorsky onside and the goal good. After a referee discussion and Houston Dash arguments, the goal was upheld and Orlando took a 1-0 lead. Jokingly, Zadorsky made the VAR (video assistant referee) signal while running back into position. Orlando would take a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Here is the NWSL's official response provided by Orlando City SC beat writer Jordan Culver’s twitter feed.

Orlando Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky picked up an assist on Alex Morgan's goal in the first half. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Orlando Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky picked up an assist on Alex Morgan's goal in the first half. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dash comeback

The Orlando Pride would continue to dictate the pace of the game in the second half. Alanna Kennedy came inches of giving Orlando a two goal bulge. Nairn found Kennedy’s head inside the box off a free kick but the ball came off the post and was cleared. Four minutes later Houston started their comeback. Linda Motlhalo sent a ball wide right of the box to Kealia Ohai. The Dash capitan, tried to cross the ball to Sofia Huerta but the ball found its way over an outstretched Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris into the side netting equalizing the match. Four minutes later Ohai used her speed to get away from a Orlando defender, she tried to cross the ball to Huerta again but Orlando defender Mônica unintentionaly knocked the ball down with her hand in the box giving Houston a penalty kick. Huerta made no mistake on the penalty, scoring her second goal in two games for her new team. The Houston Dash held off all last efforts from Orlando to equalize and went on to steal all three points by a 2-1 final.

The Dash boast their record to 4W-5L-5D on the season. Despite the loss the Pride stay in second with a 6W-4L-4D record.

Orlando Pride will host the North Carolina Courage on Lifetime on June 30 at 3:30 EST. The Houston Dash will be off this coming weekend. They will travel to Seattle Reign FC on July 7.