The Houston Dash and Utah Royals FC played to a 0-0 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night in front of a crowd of 3,433 fans in Houston. Following the result, both teams are 0-0-2 to start the season. Utah Royals FC are still in search of their first NWSL win.
Utah’s best chance in the first half came on a free kick by Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir in the 28th minute. A foul by Dash defender Amber Brooks on Utah midfielder Brittany Ratcliffe gave them a free kick right at the top of the penalty arc. Jónsdóttir put her shot on frame and Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell needed a strong punch over the bar to clear it away.
— NWSL (@NWSL) March 31, 2018
Jónsdóttir scored the first goal in Utah Royals FC history last week, and had several chances to get the second goal in franchise history on Friday night. In the 71st minute she was denied once again by Campbell, this time with a kick save after she had slipped in behind the Dash defense for a dangerous chance. The rebound went to Utah midfielder Erika Tymrak, but her right-footed shot went wide.
— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) March 31, 2018
Campbell also made a big save in the 66th minute to punch a floating shot by Brooke Elby over the crossbar. Campbell made five saves to earn her first shutout of the season. The Dash did not record a shot on goal, but were kept in the match by the strong play of Campbell and their defensive line.
After a relatively quiet first hour, the game opened up in the final 30 minutes as both teams made substitutions and the fresh legs were able to find space. Tymrak, who entered in the 67th minute, had one of Utah’s best chances and Houston’s Lindsay Agnew had several dangerous crosses for the Dash after subbing in at the 76th minute.
The best chances for the Dash came courtesy of 19-year-old midfielder Linda Motlhalo. Near the end of the first half, she took a nice touch around her defender for a breakaway down the right sideline. Her cross into the box fell to a sliding Kimberly Keever, but the shot went high. Then in the 88th minute, Motlhalo showed her dribbling skills in the box before passing to Nichelle Prince. Prince’s initial shot was blocked by Becky Sauerbrunn, and Prince then hit the rebound wide.
Utah dominated possession 66%-34%, according to Opta, and outshot the Dash 9-7 (6-0 in shots on goal).
Both teams will now head into the FIFA break. Utah Royals FC will next play on April 14 vs. the Red Stars in their inaugural home game at Rio Tinto Stadium. The next game for the Dash will be on April 18 on the road vs. the Red Stars.