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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
ESPN
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Late goals from Ohai, Huerta secure a late comeback win for the Dash against the Pride
The Dash clinch three points for the first time since Week 9, ending the Pride's unbeaten stretch

A goal from Kealia Ohai and a penalty conversion from Sofia Huerta minutes later proved to be enough to secure a late comeback for the Houston Dash in their Wednesday night meeting with the Orlando Pride at Orlando Stadium, opening midweek play of Week 14 with a 2-1 victory for the Houston Dash.

With their win, the Dash snapped the Pride’s shot at going unbeaten through five straight games. The Dash are now unbeaten in all but two of their last nine games. The Pride remain in second place after the midweek action, with a 6-4-4 record. The Dash improve to 4-5-5 overall on the season and 17 points with the three-point clinch on Wednesday night. The Dash are now tied on points with sixth-place Utah Royals FC.

The Houston Dash took over the reigns of the game on a transition play in the 79th minute. Several Dash players rushed the box anticipating a cross into the area from Ohai. The forward and captain sent the ball across the box and toward goal, but rather than crossing it, struck it into the side netting and past Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, putting the Dash level on the scoreboard with the Pride.

Ohai’s late equalizer gave the Dash momentum heading into the final portion of the match, and just four minutes later, the referee indicated towards the penalty spot after Orlando defender Mônica was called for a handball in the box. Huerta put the Dash ahead with a chip into the upper 90 of the goal from the spot.

The back-to-back goals for Houston were enough to overturn the result of the match in their favor after spending much of the match trailing to the Pride.

Orlando got their go-ahead in the 21st minute from Morgan. Defender Shelina Zadorsky was credited with the assist after she sent the ball cleanly across the six-yard-box to Morgan, who tapped in the finish. Many Houston players and Orlando players initially believed that the goal was disallowed and called offside, but Zadorsky appeared to have received the ball off of a deflection from Houston’s Clare Polkinghorne rather than the free kick service from midfielder Christine Nairn before it, rendering Zadorsky onside and the goal fair.

Other chances were plenty for the Pride in the first half, one of the best of which came in the 12th minute when Polkinghorne drew a foul in the box against Morgan. Morgan headed to the spot to take the early chance to put the Pride ahead, but her left-footed shot hit the left post.

In the seconds after the miss, a long ball from Nairn found Morgan in behind the Dash defense for another chance to get on the scoreboard, but Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell was waiting at the near post by the time Morgan got her shot off and stopped the attempt with a solid catch.

Long balls and runs in behind the Houston Dash defense were the key to Orlando’s first half domination, and the game plan yielded a number of attempts on goal for the home side. In the 17th minute, midfielder Alanna Kennedy attempted a volley off of a long ball from Carson Pickett, but the shot went high and over the crossbar.

For Houston, a number of skilled saves from Campbell kept the Pride at just one goal for the majority of the match. Campbell first rose to the occasion in the 19th minute when a low shot from Edmonds tested her in the box, which she blocked with a critical kick save. The save was the first of five for Campbell in Wednesday’s game.

Despite the pressure from Orlando, Houston got off two solid efforts at equalizing towards the end of the second half.

Huerta dribbled through much of the Orlando defense in the 37th minute, eventually having a shot on goal that went right to Harris. Just minutes later, Huerta was involved again, meeting a low cross from Taylor Comeau in the box and flicking it towards the goal, but Harris was there to comfortably prevent the Dash from taking the lead once again.

The first half ended with the Dash trailing in possession, with just 35.3% of the ball to Orlando’s 64.7%.

In the second half, Huerta opened the chances after finding space and ripping a shot from beyond the box in the 48th minute, but a reaching save from Harris was enough to stop the attempt.

The Pride had plenty of attempts in the second half that were prevented by major saves from Campbell and unlucky collisions with the woodwork. Dani Weatherholt had one of the best chances of the second half in the 63rd minute with a backheel flick into the top corner of Campbell’s near post, but the Houston keeper rose and caught it in time.

Kennedy met a free kick delivery with a header towards goal in the 75th minute, but her strike just narrowly missed the target and hit the right post.

Orlando’s chances didn’t stop after Houston’s equalizer and eventual go-ahead goal, and a shot from substitute Rachel Hill in the 87th minute went over the bar in one of their many attempts to equalize after the Dash took the lead. Less than a minute after the Hill attempt, Chioma Ubogagu, who also came on as a substitute, sent a ball across the goalmouth and forced Campbell to make a save in the dying minutes to preserve the Dash lead.

 

Despite Orlando’s early domination of the match, the Orlando Pride made three major subs in the second half, replacing their entire starting attacking line of Kristen Edmonds (64’), Marta (71’), and Alex Morgan (78’). Wednesday night’s game marked the second of three matches in the course of a week for the Pride, making rotation a priority, and both of the Pride’s late goal concessions came after the substitutions.

Though the Dash outnumbered their opponents on fouls over the course of the 90 minutes, with 11 to the Pride’s 10, four Orlando Pride players received yellow cards in the final four minutes of the game.

While the Dash won’t be in action again until next Saturday, July 7 when they visit the Seattle Reign, the Orlando Pride will get an opportunity to bounce back from Wednesday’s result against the league leaders, the North Carolina Courage, this Saturday afternoon.

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