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Lloyd, Ohai lift Dash past Spirit in season-opener

Carli Lloyd opened the National Women’s Soccer League season with a highlight-reel goal and Kealia Ohai added another as the Houston Dash defeated the Washington Spirit, 2-0 on Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Lloyd scored seven minutes into first-half stoppage time, ripping a right-footed shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

An early injury to Spirit defender Ali Krieger caused the extensive amount of stoppage time. Krieger suffered a head-to-head collision and was stretchered off the field. She was reportedly alert at a local hospital but likely has a concussion.

Ohai said earlier this week that she wanted to build upon the confidence she gained toward the end of her rookie season in 2014. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft did exactly that, stealing the ball off Spirit rookie defender Megan Oyster in the 50th minute and slotting the ball between the legs of Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris for the 2-0 advantage.

“Everybody did really well,” Lloyd said postgame. “The subs coming in, Bianca (Henninger, goalkeeper) had a great game the back line had a great game.”

Houston dictated play in the opening minutes, but the Spirit had the best early chance of the match in the 12th minute, when Argentine forward Estefania Banini got in behind following a series of combinations up the right flank. Bianca Henninger, starting in net for Houston with Erin McCleod away with Canada, came off her line quickly to shut down the opportunity.

This year’s top draft pick, Morgan Brian, nearly scored in her first professional match when she hit a left-footed shot in the 28th minute from 12 yards out that forced Harris to push the ball out of bounds.

Washington’s four-woman midfield managed some combination play against the three-woman midfield of the Dash, but Houston was sharp on the counterattack and gave the visitors few opportunities.



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