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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
ESPN
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Daly brace, Kgatlana finisher lift Dash to 3-1 victory over the Pride
The match was delayed for nearly two hours due to lightning

After a lengthy weather delay, the Houston Dash secured three points at home against the Orlando Pride, with forward Rachel Daly finding the back of the net twice on the night and midfielder Thembi Kgatlana coming off of the bench to earn her first NWSL goal.

The result comes exactly two weeks after the Dash defeated the Pride in midweek play of Week 14. The win for the Dash improves their record to 5-6-5 and marks the first of two games for both teams in Week 16. The Dash now have 20 points, and are just one point removed from sixth-place Utah Royals FC’s tally of 21 points, and three points behind Portland Thorns, who sit in fifth place. They will next face the Thorns on Sunday night in Portland.

The Orlando Pride are now 7-6-4 overall on the season and have lost three of their last four games. With the loss, they missed out on a critical opportunity to solidify their third-place spot in the table, and now are tied on points with the fourth-place Chicago Red Stars (25). They will also be without forward Marta in their next game, on Saturday in Utah, after she was red-carded in the final minute of Wednesday’s match.

Just 12 minutes into the first half of Wednesday’s game, lightning in the Houston area forced referee Christina Unkel to call the players off of the field for a delay. Play resumed at 10:42 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, nearly two hours after the game was stopped in the 12th minute with an original kickoff time of 8:30 p.m. ET, though the rain ensued.

The Dash were able to capitalize soon after the stoppage, with Daly giving her team a lead just four minutes after play resumed. In transition, Sofia Huerta sent a ball upfield to Daly who challenged the Pride defense and forced goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to come off of her line and play the ball. Daly tapped the ball just past her and into the net.

The first half was highlighted by opportunities from both teams, but efforts for the Dash started early. Before the delay, in the fifth minute, Huerta got the home team off to a solid start offensively, putting pressure on the Orlando defense and getting off a shot from close-range. Harris made a diving save to keep the game scoreless early on.

While the Dash were the first to convert after the delay, Orlando came out of the break with two strong opportunities from Alex Morgan and Camila in the 14th minute. Morgan picked off a ball that was given away in the Pride’s attacking third and slotted it across the box, but it struck the far post. Camila met the deflection but couldn’t net the rebound. The game marked Camila’s first start of the season after returning from a torn ACL last weekend.

In the second half, Daly nearly capitalized on another quick, breakaway effort for the Dash right from kickoff. Harris came off of her line, ready to make the play, but Daly’s shot went well wide of the net.

Goals in transition and quick starts from stoppage continued to be Houston’s knack and the Pride’s weakness in the game in the 50th minute, when Daly found her second of the night. Huerta sent a ball into the box that Daly got a foot on, trying to center it on target. Harris punched away the initial shot , but Daly struck the rebound in mid-air, up and over Harris into the top netting. The goal brought Daly’s tally on the season to six, and completed her brace.

Daly’s second of the game was quickly countered by a goal on the other end of the field. Pride forward Sydney Leroux met Shelina Zadorsky’s long-range delivery with a header that beat Campbell in the box. The 54th minute goal brought the score to 2-1, putting the Pride right back into the game and giving them momentum as they looked to equalize with the Dash.

In the next big chance for the Pride, Chioma Ubogagu got on the ball and laid off a pass for Marta in the box, in one of her first touches after coming into the game in the 70th minute. Marta conducted the rest of the play, leading to a series of back-to-back shots in the box from Orlando, looking for an equalizer. The offensive frenzy was met by organized and persistent defending from the Houston Dash that preserved their lead and prevented an equalizer.

Seconds after that opportunity, Marta sent the ball across the face of goal and just wide, past an outstretched Campbell. The ball went unanswered by any Orlando players, but the chances continued for the visiting team.

Pride forward Rachel Hill also made a quick impact on the game coming off of the bench, starting with a run down the right flank in the 74th minute that ended with a clean pass behind the Houston defense and towards Morgan in front of the goal. Morgan got a touch on it, but couldn’t get it goal-bound, and Veronica Latsko recovered in just enough time for Houston, to send it narrowly wide of her own post and out of danger.

In the 81st minute, Campbell made one of her five saves on the night to hold onto the Dash lead. Leroux’s back-post header off of an Ubogagu delivery bounced right in the goalmouth, but Campbell put a stop to it.

In the second minute of stoppage time, Campbell managed to make one last save with her arm wrapped around defender Janine van Wyk’s body to smother a headed shot from Morgan and attempted follow-up on the ground from Leroux.

Stoppage time continued to be eventful when Daly ran onto a deflected ball just minutes later and put away what appeared to be the goal that would complete her hat trick. After the celebration, a late offside flag was shown and the goal went disallowed. Despite not converting the hat trick, Daly finished the night with her second brace of the season and a team-high five shots, three of which were on target.

Though Daly wasn’t the scorer, Houston did manage to secure a third goal in the game, when Kgatlana ran in behind the Pride defense after a volleyed ball from Allysha Chapman from deep within the Dash defensive half. Kgatlana controlled the ball and out-ran the Pride defense as they attempted to recover before slotting the ball past Harris. The goal marks Kgatlana’s first NWSL goal.

After Houston’s flurry near the net, in the dying minutes of stoppage time, Marta was shown a red card by referee Christina Unkel for a shove to the face of Daly — the first red card issued in the 2018 season.

Wednesday’s game marked the second of three in a span of eight days for the Pride. Regular starters Christine Nairn and Emily van Egmond began the match on the bench. While van Egmond came on into the game as the first substitute in the 60th minute, Nairn — who has four assists and a goal in 2018 — remained on the sidelines. Recent returnee from injury, Ali Krieger, also sat out the match.

The Pride had a major advantage in possession in Wednesday’s game, pulling ahead with 64.1% to the Dash’s 35.9% of the ball. The Pride also out-shot the Dash, 26 to 18, but the Dash proved more effective on the attack, recording more shots on target (7) and ultimately outscoring their opponents for the win.

The Orlando Pride will play again this weekend to complete their run of three games in eight days, facing Utah Royals FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. The Dash will also take to the road this weekend, closing out Week 16 action on Sunday when they visit the Portland Thorns.

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