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Campbell Leads Dash to Victory Over Washington

Jane Campbell had a busy night and came up big for the Dash as they earned their first home win since opening day with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit. Both teams were missing key players, Carli Lloyd due to a red card suspension and Francisca Ordega with a knee injury.

The Dash put their foot on the gas first, with Poliana forcing Stephanie Labbé into a save with a header ten minutes in. Mallory Pugh returned the favor several minutes later, dribbling into the Dash box and taking a shot after getting a step on Amber Brooks, but Campbell was well positioned to block the shot. Immediately afterward, Rachel Daly split Washington’s defenders and found herself point blank with Labbé, who came up with not one but two great reaction saves.

In the 25th minute, Andressinha played a corner short, and Janine Beckie lofted the ball into the box, finding the head of Poliana, who managed to send it in the back of the net despite facing away from goal. This makes the Brazilian Houston’s leading scorer for the season.

Washington didn’t take it lying down. A few minutes later, Shelina Zadorsky found herself with plenty of time and space outside the box, so she let rip with a rocket that forced Campbell to launch herself into an amazing save to redirect the ball.

The game really began to open up after the goal, moving end to end. Daly had a chance to double their lead when Poliana got endline and cut back with a fantastic ball, but Daly’s header went wide. Campbell kept the Dash lead intact into the locker room, first denying Pugh and then Estefania Banini in succession, the latter after she dribbled past nearly the entire Houston defense and launched one from the center of the box. Morgan Brian closed out the half with an attempt for her first goal of 2017 but was deflected for a corner.

The game picked up where it left off after halftime. Both teams had chances on goal denied by last ditch defending and excellent goalkeeping, but once again the Dash struck first.

In the 54th minute, immediately after a Campbell save on the other end, Beckie and Daly took the ball down the right flank. Daly cut it back to Andressinha instead of going endline. Tori Huster tried to close her down, but the Brazilian midfielder blasted a one-touch right-footed shot that soared past Labbé into the far upper 90 to double Houston’s lead.

A few minutes later Janine Van Wyk was given a red card for a foul, setting up a dangerous free kick that Pugh sent direct, but Campbell deflected for a corner. The action went the other way, where Nichelle Prince found Daly wide open on the right side. Daly ripped a shot on frame past a closing Caprice Dydasco, but Labbé was well positioned to deflect it out. It was Prince to Daly again in the 67th minute, when Daly executed a neat turn past Zadorsky and got 1v1 point blank with Labbé, who went to ground just in time to deny a third goal.

Washington pulled one back in the 75th minute when Estelle Johnson made a run up the right flank on a counterattack. With a step on Cami Levin, she took one touch to settle and somehow slipped it near post past Campbell.

Campbell redeemed herself in the 83rd minute when she made another fantastic save, this one by getting a hand on a Kristie Mewis rocket that just pushed the ball wide. Not to be outdone, Labbé closed out the game by denying Poliana a brace.

Washington had one last opportunity in the dying seconds of stoppage time with a free kick in Houston’s territory. However, unlike Portland last week, they were unable to take advantage, and the match ended 2-1.

The results don’t affect the standings, as Houston and Washington remain in 7th and 10th, respectively. Houston is now on a 5-match undefeated streak, the longest currently in the league, while Washington has a three-game winless streak. Houston hosts Boston next week, and Washington visits Portland.

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