After picking up a solid 2-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars last time out in the National Women's Soccer League, the Dash were feeling confident heading into Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately for them, they came across a Seattle side that was hungry to pick up a big win after their opening day 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC. It ended up being another rout by Seattle in the series against Houston and the victory pushed Seattle to second in the league and they bost the most amount of goals scored in the league so far.
A flurry of goals underscore Seattle's dominance
The home side were looking to improve on their opening day draw and started the game with a great tempo and high pressing at every opportunity. That style of play paid off as they not only began to put together some good attacking moments but as the half grew, Seattle took control of the possession as well. Jess Fishlock had the first shot on target in the second minute as she burst forward form midfield before firing low through a gap of defenders. Jane Campbell, starting her first game in the NWSL, had an easy catch from Fishlock's shot but it was a warning sign for Houston of how Seattle were looking to play in the opening half.
The Reign continued to combine well and it was due to their final pass being just short which prevented them from finding a good chance on goal.
Houston's biggest chance of the half came in the 14th minute when Janine Beckie swung in a corner that Hayley Kopmeyer got a good punch on to clear it away. Three minutes later and the Reign were ahead. Rapinoe got to the byline in the 17th minute and found Beverly Yanez with her cut back. The striker was unable to control her touch but the ball fell to Christine Nairn who laid it off for Fishlock and the Welsh midfielder finished well, low into the corner to give the Reign the lead.
From then on, it was an avalanche of Seattle chances, as they shut down the Houston attack and continued to find spaces in and around Houston's backline. Rapinoe, who had started the game well, picked up the second goal of the match with an absolute stunner of a goal in the 26th minute after Fishlock's crossfield pass found Rapinoe in space. In the 29th minute, Kristen McNabb registered her first professional goal in her second professional start when Rapinoe's corner was not cleared well by the Dash defenders and the rookie Reign player latched onto the ball and nodded it into goal.
Houston had absolutely no answer to how well Seattle had exerted their dominance in the first half and would have been relieved to get a short break when Merritt Mathias was treated for a head injury and then substituted as it gave the Dash defenders and their rookie goalkeeper some reprieve from the Seattle onslaught.
The half ended with another Seattle corner that the Dash had to stay alert on and Houston's head coach, Randy Waldrum, headed into the locker rooms wondering how this half had managed to escape his team so quickly.
A consolation goal the only highlight for Houston in the second half
If Houston fans were looking for a change in proceedings after half time even with the introduction of recent Dash signee Sarah Hagen, they will have been disappointed. Seattle's tempo did not drop off and the home team searched for more goals while still keeping the front three of Kealia Ohai, Rachel Daly and Beckie quiet for the majority of the game. Daly had an attempt from a long way out right at the beginning of the half which did not trouble Kopmeyer in goal for Seattle and then, it was all Seattle once again.
Ten minutes after the restart, the Reign were up by four through Yanez. Fishlock once again strode forward from midfield, her effort was partially blocked by Campbell and the rebound fell to Yanez who passed the ball into an empty net. It was a howler from Campbell, who should have dealt with Fishlock's shot better and a sign of how poorly the day had gone for the young goalkeeper.
The Reign stayed patient with their build up and only pushed forward towards goal if their play gave them enough space to attack. It not only conserved their energy but also kept Houston chasing the ball for most of the half. In the 74th minute, another rookie Katie Johnson, who had come in for Yanez, made it five for the Reign when Rapinoe's cross was deflected towards her. The young forward overpowered Cari Rocarro and nodded home from close range.
Credit to the Houston Dash, who even at five nil down, did not not stop trying to get something out of the game. They got the reward their perseverance deserved when Poliana got onto the end of a clearance by Kopmeyer from a Dash free-kick and powered the ball in to make it 5-1 in the 84th minute. It was nothing more than a small victory for the Dash who will leave Seattle after being trounced once again by a large margin.
Seattle has won all previous seven games that they had played against the Dash and tonight was no different as they dominated proceedings. They will now look towards their next game away to the Boston Breakers while the Dash will want to bounce back against the Washington Spirit in their next game on the road.