Sky Blue Brings the Heat to Houston

Chelsey Bush May 13, 2017 16

Houston provided the high temperatures, but Sky Blue brought the heat in a 3-1 win over the Dash.

Midfielder Morgan Brian returned to the starting lineup for the Dash for the first time this season, with striker Nichelle Prince getting her first start up top as well. Sky Blue was without Kelley O’Hara but returned Christie Pearce. Houston began with the upper hand, working the ball up the field in some of the most patient build up play we’ve seen from them this year. But they were lacking with the final ball, and it would be Sky Blue who looked dangerous first, when midfielder Sarah Killion found herself with space in the box in the 16th minute but sent it off the crossbar.

Sixteen minutes later, forward Sam Kerr drew a penalty when she took a boot to the face inside the box from defender Bruna Benites. Killion took the penalty and put it away calmly for the third time this season.

Andressa made a return from injury for Houston after halftime, and at first it looked to be paying off when forward Janine Beckie, now pushed up from the midfield, sent one off the crossbar in nearly exactly the same spot as Killion. However, Sky Blue quickly took control of the game for long stretches. Less than ten minutes into the second half, they doubled their lead when Kerr flicked a beautiful no-look ball past Benites to a wide open Leah Galton, who burned the Dash backline with her speed. Forced into a 1v1, goalkeeper Lydia Williams came off her line but hesitated, and Galton was able to turn past her and send it into an open net.

Houston had their best chance of the game in the 70th minute off a corner kick. Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan came out to punch the ball away but missed, and Benites’ header looked destined for the back of the net until it met Mandy Freeman’s foot on the goal line.

Three minutes later, they found their goal, when forward Kealia Ohai drove endline, getting past defender Erin Simon and cutting a low cross back across the face of goal, where Poliana neatly flicked it past Sheridan.

Kerr put the game away for Sky Blue as it neared the end of regular time, splitting two defenders with a shot and beating her Matildas teammate Williams at far post.

{Read more: Point by Point: Week 5 Story Lines to Watch }

  • Ron Rocha

    Dash attempt 163 or so (maybe more) 50 yd passes directly to opposing players and about 7 midfield touches.

  • GT

    Sam Kerr can be a joy to watch. Nice return by Pearce, another solid game from Sheridan, Freemen looked good. Stanton had a nice game. Congrats to Kiliian for her fourth goal and Galton for her first. I was a little disappointed that Holly didn’t sub Mills for Simon earlier. She was being beat on the left side quite a lot.

    • Forgedias

      Kerr is such a handleful. Isn’t afraid to mix it up and will drive the ball right at you. Great game by Kerr, she took over the game.

      Simon looked to be really struggling with the heat. Not surprising with the humidity.

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  • ted norberto

    UUUGGGHH!! I could feel the heat from my TV. This game looked like they’re playing in 2 inches of water with the pace that it was going. My DASH looked sogged by the heat.

  • guest

    DAT killion golden boot. lol.

  • Steglitz49

    Sky Blue won without KO. Does that say more about KO than Houston?

    • BCAD

      I think more about Houston. Pearce might be the captain but I think O’Hara is the engine of this team. So as a SBFC fan even though they I am happy they won without her, I think they are better with her. And Sam Kerr had some true moments of brillance of this game. However I am baffled at Houston’s ability to score on a consistent basis.

      • Steglitz49

        Verily.

  • Silver Frost

    What’s wrong with Dash? It can’t be the players. So that leaves Waldrum. Poor man is out of a job, maybe even this season.

    Great crowd. How about scheduling games at night so fans and players don’t have heat stroke?

    • Terry Lash

      For more than a year I have wondered why Waldrum was still the Dash coach. At the professional level he appears clueless in all aspects from selecting players to preparing game plans. Too bad because he was a successful college coach.

      • Steglitz49

        I suspect that coaching WoSo in college is a totally different beast from the NWSL. Also, Carli has been playing for Man City, remember.

  • kernel_thai

    Im just starting to believe my Dash r the perfect combination of unlucky and mismanaged. Ugh. Beckie finds herself alone in the middle of the box 10 yards out and hits the crossbar. Dash finally get a quality service on set piece (probably been two years), Benitez heads it squarely into a defender (Freeman?) on the goal line. Get a goal back and seem to be on the front foot for the last 20 minutes only to have Benitez get injured, have to finish with 10 and give a up a back breaking goal. Add the fact that they can finally get some play in the midfield from Andrea and Brian only to have O’Sullivan come up lame.

    Then there is Waldrum. I honestly can’t say I know what the game plan was. Did he think the SkyBlue midfield was so good he couldn’t move the ball forward on the ground? Does anyone but Ohai have a predetermined role in the attack? Is the heat an advantage if u don’t force the tempo and make SkyBlue defend? Ud think the last thing ud want is to keep sending long balls over the top to be incepted and allow SB to rest while they pass it around in the back.