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Analysis

Seattle cruises to easy victory over Houston

Seattle fans were treated to a lopsided goalfest as the Reign had their way with the Houston Dash in a 5-1 victory.

Jess Fishlock opened the scoring in the 18th minute when she received the ball around the penalty spot, unmarked, and sent it low through traffic past Jane Campbell, getting her first professional start in net. The Welsh midfielder added an assist to her tally in the 28th, sending it long to Megan Rapinoe, who took one touch to launch a rocket of a half volley past defender Poliana.

Three minutes later, rookie Kristen McNabb got on the end of a poor clearance from a corner kick and headed it in for her first professional goal. The Dash retreated to the locker room at the half down by three with little offensive effort on their part.

Houston continued to live dangerously as they started the second half. In the 51st minute, Campbell came out to collect a ball from Fishlock and collided with Rapinoe, leaving the ball bouncing free in the box. Beverly Yanez rushed forth to take advantage of the open net, but midfielder Amber Brooks scrambled back in time for a goal line clearance.

Yanez got herself on the score sheet just a few minutes later anyway. Carson Pickett pressured Janine Beckie all the way back to Houston’s box, forcing a turnover. The ensuing shot by Fishlock was initially saved by Campbell, but she couldn’t hold on to it, and this time Yanez collected the rebound for an easy finish.

Substitute Katie Johnson put the final nail in the coffin for the Dash in the 74th minute. Rapinoe took the ball endline, launching a cross that Campbell got a hand on, popping it into the air. Making a run into the box, Johnson got her head on it for the Reign’s final goal.

Seattle controlled the game from start to finish, mostly playing around Houston as the Dash struggled both to maintain a defensive shape and build up any offensive play. Poliana got a consolation goal for the Dash in the dying minutes with the rebound off a poorly cleared set piece, but it was far too little, far too late.

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