The Houston Dash lost for the first time in more than a month and it was costly. The San Diego Wave swept the season series winning 3-1 late Saturday night. The win creates a logjam at the top of the NWSL table between Houston. Portland, and San Diego.
The game was wide open from the opening whistle. Ebony Salmon scored her eighth goal of the season but it didn't last. Alex Morgan equalized the match with her 50th career NWSL goal and league leading 12th goal in 2022 before San Diego pulled away late.
The game dealt a blow to the Houston playoff chances with five games remaining as they cannot afford any more let downs. Houston failed on a multitude of opportunities to finish in front of the net and San Diego did not. That was the simple and clear difference in settling the match.
“A tough one to take especially for all other players," said a tired Juan Carlos Amoros. "I'm gutted for the defeat because I think we deserve much more. We played better but we didn't dominate in the boxes and that cost us the game now so one to look at. Look what we did well. There were a lot of positives to take from the game. We need to be we need to be better on both boxes. We would have easily won the game had we been more clinical in both of them”
For Houston, the sting of this one will last a little longer than the Racing Louisville match a week ago. With a streak of three games in seven days over, the Dash can now look forward to a full week of preparation for each of the final five contests. The loss of three points and a chance to be all alone at the top of the table will be a driving force for this team.
“We'd be feeling a lot better if we had those two points in the bag with us going home," described midfielder Sophie Schmidt. "That's not the case. That will affect the mood for sure. I'm proud of this team, the work that they put in and the shifts in the amount of games that we grinded out, we've gotten points in the last little bit. Today was unfortunate, but we have a lot of things to hold our heads high about in that game and take that moving forward into next weekend's game.”
This one stings more than the Racing Louisville match a week ago and ends a streak of three games in seven days for Houston. From here on out, preparation for each outing will be a full week with no quick turn arounds.
Houston returns home for a two game set facing off next Saturday against the Washington Spirit and then Angel City FC who has dreams of a playoff berth. Protect the home pitch in those two matches and the Dash will be able to almost certainly be able to pack their bags for the playoffs.