NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs Houston Dash
By Abigail Guevara
The Houston Dash sends a message on its season opener against the Chicago Red Stars at BBVA Compass Stadium Saturday evening.
“We wanted to make a statement, that it’s going to be really, really tough to beat us at home,” Houston Dash midfielder, Amber Brooks, said. “At home is where we need to pick up the most points.”
Houston forward, Kealia Ohai, had a strong start and scored the first goal of the game on the 15th minute with an assist from Brooks.
“I think it’s really important that Kea gets off to a good, quick start this season and not struggle early so we can kind build on that momentum,” Dash head coach Randy Waldrum said.
Although, the Red Stars weren’t going to take it lightly.
Chicago’s forward, Kristen Press put pressure on Houston by attempting to score at the end of the first half.
Press’s efforts came up short to put a goal past Houston’s goal keeper, Lynda Williams.
“We gave a ball away inside our 18-yard box and gave it straight to the striker,” Waldrum said. “We tried to play a square ball between our two center backs that we hit right to their striker in front of the goal.”
During the second half, all eyes were on Houston’s Rachel Daly.
On the 80th minute, Daly swiftly avoided Chicago’s defense and made a perfect left-foot curl in the upper corner to score the Dash’s second goal of the game.
“I took one big separation [to] touch the other way and that’s where the top bend and the far post opened up,” Daily said. “I looked high and I had been working so hard to finish those. Obviously, it’s great for me and great to get a goal.”
Houston wound up winning the game with a, 2-0 shut-out, against Chicago. Daly and Ohai shared a memorable celebration, highlighting the winning goal.
“Kea are very competitive and we were on the same team and I don’t know why, we won and were really crazy about the possession game and just decided to do a softball pitch,” Daly said.
Despite not having their key player, Morgan Brian – who is out due to an MCL sprain – this is Houston’s third consecutive opening day win in their home stadium.
Next Saturday, April 22nd; the Dash are set to travel to Memorial Stadium and face Seattle Reign.
“It’s one game, and we know that, but now we’ve got to prove that we can start putting some things together in a row and that’s the next big hurdle for us,” Waldrum said.