A second half surge saw the Houston Dash pick up a great win away to Utah Royals FC this Saturday. Two goals by Rachel Daly, who was also sent off, gave Houston the three points after they had conceded a goal in the first half. The win also pushed the Dash to the top of the National Women's Soccer League table as things stand.
Utah lead after 45 minutes at the Rio Tinto Stadium
After 20 minutes of both teams trying to break each other down, the first big moment of the match came in the 25th minute when some slack defending by Rachel Corsie allowed Rachel Daly to knick the ball from her. Fortunately for Corsie, Nicole Barnhart, had the read the danger and came quickly out of her own area to clear the ball before Daly could make the most of that opportunity.
The first real chance that Utah had, they scored from. Verónica Boquete slalomed through the Houston midfield before playing a fantastic through ball for Amy Rodriguez in the 29th minute. Rodriguez used her pace to catch up the pass and then calmly slipped the ball past Jane Campbell, the Dash goalkeeper. It was a smart finish from Rodriguez who made sure that Boquete's midfield magic was rewarded with some clinical finishing. The scoring was not over yet as in the 42nd minute, Daly capitalized on some poor play in the Utah backline again. This time, it was Samantha Johnson who dallied on the ball and Daly nipped in to strip the ball from her before thumping a great shot past Barnhart into the far corner of the goal.
Daly steals the show in more ways than one
After the break, the Dash were on the front foot and looked to try and win the match. Daly took center stage again early in the second half with her second of the game and what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Arianna Romero picked out Daly's run into the channel and the England international then managed to squeeze her shot past Barnhart from a difficult angle, much to the surprise of many in the stadium.
Utah pushed for an equalizer but could not break down the Houston defense. The closest they came to scoring a goal was in the 87th minute when substitute Makenzy Doniak tried to lift a cross into the box that ended up going just over the crossbar. The match saw a late flash point as Daly got herself sent off for elbowing Meghan Cox in the face, something that was spotted by the fourth official, but it did not aid Utah's cause and the Dash came away with another solid win this season.
Utah Royals 1 (Rodriguez, min. 29) - 2 Houston Dash (Daly, min. 42, min. 50).
Yellow Cards: Johnson (min. 44), Corsie (min. 69), Hanson (min. 72), Nairn (min. 83).
Red Cards: Daly (min. 90).