The Houston Dash claimed their sixth win of the season at the expense of the Washington Spirit for the last match of Week 17. The match was originally scheduled for Saturday night but was postponed due to unfavorable field conditions. Heavy rain fell for most of the day soaking the field, delaying the match for 15 hours. The match would be rescheduled for Sunday morning 10:00 AM EST.
Rachel Daly strikes again
Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly would score the only goal of the match. In the third minute, midfielder Sofia Huerta sent the ball into the box where a streaking Daly deflected it with a header past the charging Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. The tally was Daly’s third against the Washington Spirit and seventh of the season, putting her tie for third in the NWSL Golden Boot race. Daly seven goals is tied with Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Crystal Dunn. Huerta, who was left off the USWNT Tournament of Nations roster, registered her third assist of the season on the goal.
After the goal, the Spirit turned the momentum nearly equalizing. Taylor Smith and Estefania Banini combined to put pressure on Houston’s backline. Smith fired a right footed shot from the right side of the box that was stopped. The ball then bounce right to Banini near the penalty spot but her right footed shot was saved by Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell. Campbell would face a barrage of shots as possession would be dominated by the Spirit for the rest of the game.
The Jane Campbell Show
Washington registered a total of nine shots on goal and Campbell stopped them all. Campbell was tested twice in the first minute of the match by Nigerian international Francisca Ordega as she collected her own rebound from close range. After stopping Smith and Banini’s shots on goal in the eighth minute, Campbell was tested by reigning Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch and then Caprice Dydasco a few minutes later. Hatch’s barrage did not quit the entire match as she lead the team registering a total of seven shots, two of them were on goal. The most dangerous of Hatch's chances was in the 81st minute when she fired a rocket that forced Campbell to go full extension to make the save. In the 84th minute, Washington’s Havana Solaun almost was able to solve Campbell although her header from a corner just missing the post. The Washington Spirit attempted a total of 23 shots. Ordega, Hatch, Banini and Smith had two shots on goal each with Dydasco registering the remaining. The Dash held off the Spirit for the rest of the match and were able to hang on for the win.
The FIFA international break will put the NWSL on hold for the next week. The Houston Dash will host Utah Royals FC on Sunday, August 5. The Washington Spirit will begin a three game road trip starting Sunday, August 5 against the Seattle Reign FC.