The Red Stars are still chasing the playoff pack after being held to a scoreless draw by the Houston Dash on Saturday afternoon in Benedictine University Sports Complex. The point moved the Red Stars to 28, same as the Washington Spirit, but they trail on the head-to-head tiebreaker and will prepare to play at Washington in one week’s time. The Dash moved to 18 points, 10 adrift of the Spirit with the only consolation being two matches in hand on the teams standing 3rd through 6th. It was just the second 0-0 draw in NWSL this season and the first ever for the Dash.
The match was played in steamy conditions and the play was indicative of a day when players were fighting to save themselves for the full 90. Consequently there was not a whole lot in the way of attacking soccer. There were some chances though, the closest coming right near the end when Christen Press’s blast smacked off the far post and managed to stay out before the Dash were able to clear. Earlier in the 2nd half the Dash won a free kick just above the box when Abby Erceg took down Jordan Jackson. Stephanie Ochs stepped into the free kick and forced Karina LeBlanc to knock it over the crossbar.
The Red Stars (7-6-7, 28 pts), now unbeaten in six games, will sit back and watch the Spirit play FC Kansas City on Wednesday before taking their turn in Washington on Saturday. Last time the Red Stars played at the SoccerPlex was last August, a rain-shortened, 80-minute loss that officially eliminated them from playoff contention. The stakes won’t be quite so high this time, but if either team loses it will be a long way back. One Red Star who won’t make the trip is Alyssa Mautz who was booked for the 5th time late Saturday and will serve an automatic, one-match suspension.
The Dash (5-10-3, 18 pts) remain in 8th and have a Wednesday home date against the Reign on ESPN3.
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