On Saturday evening, the Houston Dash hosted the Orlando Pride as the teams saw action for the first time since the NWSL league-wide international break. The two teams battled it out, and it would be the Brazilian stars on both sides that made all the difference on the scoreboard.
Pride gains the upperhand via Brazilians
Having kickoff at 7:30 instead of 2:30 proved to be a huge difference from the start. immediately from the first whistle, both teams were eager to get to the ball. In the first 10 minutes, the Houston Dash really came to play, and it seemed like Kealia Ohai and Carli Lloyd were working extremely well off each other as the game went on. However, a giveaway led to Pride midfielder Camila lookng up and taking a shot from distance to beat goalkeeper Lydia Williams. The Pride were suddenly up 1-0 in the 16th minute.
Only a few minutes later, the Dash were on the prowl again, earning a corner. After being cleared, defender Camille Levin collected the ball at the top of the box and served it to Lloyd on the left. The midfielder tried her shot from a tough angle, but Aubrey Blesdoe came up big for the Pride, diving to her side to block the shot. Once cleared by the Pride, they took off towards the Dash goal, and Marta found herself dribbling down the field, easily slotting the ball past Williams to put the Pride up 2-0 in the 22nd minute. The home side tried their best to come up with an answer, but were unable to and the minutes slipped away from them. Midfielder Carli Lloyd seemed to have gotten knocked a little in the 43rd minute when she didn't get up after a tackle. She stood and was limping around for a few moments, but returned to playing without incident. The two teams went into the locker room with the Pride leading 2-0.
Marta shines, Dash answer
The Dash were eager to equalize in the second half, but once again all efforts were coming up short once the whistle blew. In addition to their attempts, the game seemed to get a little rougher with more fouls being called throughout the second half. In the 57th minute, Marta added another goal to the scoreboard for the second time that night after finishing a clinical pass from Jasmyne Spencer. With the Pride now up 3-0, Houston was in trouble. Forward Kealia Ohai came up with plenty of chances for Houston, especially a beautiful curler from outside of the box that was just off target. Only 10 minutes later, Australian defender Alanna Kennedy added her name to the score sheet when she headed home a corner for the Pride for a 4-0 advantage.
As the minutes ticked on, the home team started to run out of time to do so much as at least answer one of the four goals. However, int the 89th minute Poliana headed Andressa's free kick past Blesdoe to earn one back for her team. The Dash suddenly became more alive as they entered five minutes of stoppage, chance after chance coming their way. Just before the final whistle, forward and rookie Nichelle Prince slipped through the Pride's back line for a diagonal ball in and was able to score her first professional goal. She helped the Dash lessen the gap in score to only 4-2 just as the whistle blew.