The Chicago Red Stars ended their losing streak and jumped back into a playoff spot via a 3-0 rout of the Houston Dash.
Red Stars exploit shaky Dash defense
The Red Stars started the match on the front foot. Less than three minutes in, USWNT midfielder Morgan Brian combined with Vanessa DiBernardo in a 1-2 play. DiBernardo's return pass set Brian up to fire a shot from a few yards out of the box that hit the post. DiBernardo's rebound into the net was ruled out because she was in an offside position.
Samantha Kerr, the most prolific goal scorer in the history of the NWSL, was quick to put her team ahead in this match. In the 7th minute, Brian played a through ball to her that she ran onto and slotted into the near post.
The Dash had a fantastic chance to grab an equalizer in the 33rd minute. After the ball fell to her during a corner kick, Rachel Daly took a shot destined to sneak into the top left corner of the goal until Alyssa Naeher made a reaction save to tip it over the crossbar.
In the 40th minute, Chicago earned a free kick outside of the side of the box. The ball was sent into the box, and Kerr headed it down. Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell made a great diving save to temporarily prevent her from scoring a brace, and Daly was in the right position to clear the ball completely off the line.
Just before halftime, Kerr doubled her team's lead by taking an assist from Japanese international Yuki Nagasato. Nagasato cut a pass back to Kerr, and Kerr blasted a low but powerful shot into the bottom left corner of the goal from the top of the box.
McCaskill scores her first goal for Chicago
Kerr showed her hunger for a hat trick in the 57th minute. She attempted another low and powerful shot with her right foot near the top of the box, but Campbell was able to deflect this one away with her fingertips.
A new signing for the Red Stars earlier this season, Savannah McCaskill registered her name on the Red Stars' score sheet for the first time. In the 65th minute, she chased down a long ball from left back Casey Short and finished it off by nutmegging Campbell.
Cece Kizer made a solid effort to get the Dash on the board in the 80th minute, using fancy footwork to create space to take a shot in the box which ultimately clanged the crossbar.
The Chicago Red Stars (10-8-2) now turn their attention to their upcoming midweek match against the Orlando Pride. The Houston Dash (6-9-4) will encounter another obstacle to their playoff chances when they host the Utah Royals FC next Friday.