Daly’s brace lifts Dash over Spirit 3-2
Ohai earned her first goal of the season in the win
The Dash forward has four goals this season. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)
The Dash forward has four goals this season. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Rachel Daly scored twice to lift the Houston Dash over the Washington Spirit 3-2 to close out Week 9 play at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday night.

The Dash picked up their second-straight win of the year at home and improve to 3-4-4 (13 points) in league play, while the Spirit remain winless on the road at 2-6-2 (8 points) overall.

Daly doubled her scoring on the year and now leads the Dash with four goals. Kealia Ohai also scored for the Dash in the win, and earned her first goal of the year. The Spirit’s goals came from midfielder Estefanía Banini, her first of the year, and Ashley Hatchwho scored in her second-straight game.

Kristie Mewis, who scored for the Dash in their 2-1 victory over Seattle Reign FC on Wednesday, went down in just the 13th minute of play with injury. After exiting and then re-entering the game, she went down again and was subbed out for the remainder of the game in the 19th minute.

The Dash were also without Kyah Simon, who was initially named to the starting lineup, but just before kickoff was listed as out with a groin injury.

The first half went without a shot on goal in the first 43 minutes of play. Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan, who earned her first assist of the year on Wednesday in the Spirit’s 1-0 win over Sky Blue FC, got a shot off for the visitors in the 44th minute.

In the 46th minute, Daly got the home team rolling when she finished her third goal of the season to put her side up 1-0. Dash forward Nichelle Prince made a long run down the left flank and crossed the ball into the box where Daly as able to finish it one-time.

The second half kicked-off instantaneously thanks to Dash forward Kealia Ohai. Ohai dribbled at the Spirit’s backline and was able to beat three different defenders and get off a left-footed shot. Her shot want far post and beat Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to give the Dash a 2-0 lead and earn Ohai her first goal of 2018.

The second half also brought on Spirit forward Mallory Pugh, who sat the first half. Pugh’s presence almost immediately got her team on the scoreboard when she drew a foul in the penalty area in the 51st minute. Pugh stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell made the save to protect her cage at home.

The Sprit wouldn’t let down though, and in the 54th minute midfielder Banini got one back for her side. Spirit defender Taylor Smith crossed the ball far post where Banini was left unmarked and had time to settle it and finish far post.

The Dash were able to extend their lead in the 77th minute when Thembi Kgatlana broke through past the entire Spirit backline, including Bledsoe, and slipped it across to Daly, who was running alongside her. Daly scored her second of the night to put the Dash up 3-1.

In the 84th minute, Daly and Kgatlana combined once again, yet this time it was a Daly to Kgatlana sequence where Daly slipped Kgatlana in behind on a fast break. Kgatlana finished it one-time, however the goal was called off due to an offside call.

In the 86th minute, the game was delayed when Pugh went down with an injury and had to exit the game. Spirit forward Ashley Hatch pulled her team within one in the 91st minute. Hatch picked up a poor back pass from the Dash and tucked it away in the bottom left corner to make it 3-2.

The game finished with the Spirit earning the better of the possession with 57.7% to the Dash’s 42.3%. The Spirit will next host the Red Stars on Saturday, June 2 and the Dash will welcome the league-leading North Carolina Courage to BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday, June 3.

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