Despite a late-game comeback effort, Orlando Pride fell 4-2 to the Houston Dash on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Down three goals late, the Pride scored a pair in the second half but could not complete the road rally.
It was the first time the Pride have fallen to Houston this season, owning the season series over the 2014 expansion side after winning the first three meetings between the two teams.
“Houston is a very good team and did a lot of good soccer things. [They] played some great football and certainly deserved the win. It's not about the winning or the losing that frustrate me. It's about the bad habits, poor decisions [and] unforced errors,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Yet, we [got] ourselves from nothing back in the game, which highlights the quality of the team.”
Down 3-0, the Pride got on the scoreboard in the 80th minute on a clever free kick. Jasmyne Spencer drew a foul 22 yards out, setting up a set piece for Kristen Edmonds. Edmonds found captain Alex Morgan on a curling run, sending the forward down the left side of the box to fire her third goal of the season past Houston’s Lydia Williams.
After Morgan's score, Edmonds cut the Dash lead to one late in the match with her team-leading fifth goal of the season. Edmonds was in position at the top of the box, collecting a toe-poke from Kaylyn Kyle and firing it back on net away from Williams who was moving the opposite direction.
With the Pride pressing for an equalizer and down to 10 players, Kealia Ohai added her second of the night in second-half stoppage time for the 4-2 final. Orlando's lineup was depleted at the start of the extra time, after Becky Edwards took a hard foul to the back and had to leave the match late with an injury.
Ohai scored Houston’s third goal in the 62nd minute with a perfectly placed shot from distance, picking out the far corner for the Dash’s third goal of the match.
The Dash took their first lead of the season over the Pride 23 minutes in on the foot of rookie Janine Beckie. Carli Lloyd assisted on the play, sending a driven ball across the penalty area to Beckie on the far post.
The home side then doubled the lead early in the second half through Brazilian Polian, who collected her own rebound on a corner kick and pushed the Dash to 2-0.
The Pride had a chance to equalize in the 37th minute after Toni Pressley sent a long ball down the field to Sarah Hagen, who made her seventh start of the season on Saturday night. Pressley’s ball was headed from Hagen to Morgan, who nodded the ball into the path of Edmonds but Edmond’s shot from 10 yards out went over the goal.
Hagen would exit the match six minutes later after a hard challenge in the air.
Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made a highlight-reel save in the 53rd minute, denying Ohai from up close. With Josée Bélanger on her shoulder, Lloyd used a cheeky heel pass to spring Ohai on the left side, but Harris came off her live to make the stop before Kyle swept the rebound from danger.
Harris was tested throughout the match, with the Dash earning 10 corner kicks and taking 21 shots over the 90 minutes. The veteran goalkeeper finished with eight saves, tied for a single-game record in the Pride’s short history.
The Pride will play their final road match of the inaugural season on Wednesday night, kicking off a home-and-home series with Sky Blue FC. Following Wednesday, Orlando plays two final home matches on Sept. 10 against Sky Blue FC then Sept. 24 against FC Kansas City.
Tickets to all home matches can be purchased at orlando-pride.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride
Date: September 3, 2016
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Goals 1 2 F
Houston (5-8-4) 1 3 4
Orlando (6-11-0) 0 2 2
HOU - Janine Beckie (Carli Lloyd) 24’
HOU - Poliana 49’
HOU - Kealia Ohai 62’
ORL - Alex Morgan (Kristen Edmonds) 80’
ORL - Kristen Edmonds 87’
HOU - Kealia Ohai (Janine Beckie) 95+’
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris; Cami Levin, Kaylyn Kyle, Monica, Toni Pressley (Becky Edwards 54’); Josée Bélanger (Sam Witteman 73’), Dani Weatherholt, Kristen Edmonds, Jasmyne Spencer; Sarah Hagen (Maddy Evans 43’), Alex Morgan
Substitutes Not Used: Kaitlyn Savage; McKenzie Berryhill; Christina Burkenroad, Jamia Fields
Houston Dash: Lydia Williams; Poliana (Cami Privett 64’), Ellie Brush, Cari Roccaro, Becca Moros; Morgan Brian (Amber Brooks 73’), Andressa, Denise O’Sullivan (Melissa Henderson 80’), Carli Lloyd; Janine Beckie, Kealia Ohai
Substitutes Not Used: Bianca Henninger; Stephanie Ochs; Caity Heap; Chioma Ubogagu
Stats Summary: HOU / ORL
Shots: 21 / 6
Shots on Goal: 12 / 4
Saves: 2 / 8
Corner Kicks: 10 / 6
Fouls: 9 / 4
Offside: 4 / 3
HOU - Cari Roccaro (Yellow Card - Reckless Foul) 76’
ORL - Alex Morgan (Yellow Card - Reckless Foul) 78’
HOU - Amber Brooks (Yellow Card - Professional Foul) 79’
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referee 1: Deleana Quan
Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt
Fourth Official: Michael Arrington