Nadia Nadim scored a hat trick on Saturday to lift Sky Blue FC past the Houston Dash, 3-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Nadim now has five goals in as many games since joining the team in early July, leaving the sixth-place New Jersey club wondering what could have been with a full season from the Danish international. Sky Blue is not officially eliminated from the playoffs, but will be if the Washington Spirit win or draw on Saturday in Seattle and if the Thorns also win in Boston on Sunday.
Nadim scored her first goal in the 39th minute, tapping in a low cross from rookie Maya Hayes. Midfielder Katy Freels chipped a ball into Hayes, behind the Houston defense, and Hayes played a square ball across the goalmouth to Nadim for the finish.
Freels was involved in Nadim’s second goal, in the 74th minute, chipping a free kick into Nadim, whose diving header put Sky Blue up 2-0.
Austrian striker Nina Burger gave the Dash hope with an 86th minute goal off a corner kick, but Nadim wasn’t done. She scored her third goal in stoppage time, calmly slotting the ball past Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod after Kelley O’Hara held up the ball and patiently played a brilliant square ball.
Houston had its chances to go ahead in the first half, including rookie Kealia Ohai missing the far post by inches after getting in behind in the 16th minute. The Dash end their inaugural home campaign with a 2-9-1 record at BBVA Compass Stadium
Sky Blue (6-8-7, 25 pts.) is still 8 pts. back of fourth place with three matches unplayed. One of those games, though, is a postponed home match vs. Houston from July 2. No make-up match has been announced.
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