ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Carli Lloyd made her mark and scored the lone goal in the second half to secure the Houston Dash the 1-0 win against the Western New York Flash on Saturday in front of a season high crowd of 4,110 at Sahlen’s Stadium.
Twenty-four hours prior to the match, Lloyd made headlines for ripping her former club, stating that she has lost all respect for the Flash over the manner in which she was traded last October.
After scoring the game-winner on Saturday, she doubled down on her criticism of the Flash.
“I don’t think it’s a lot to ask to get a little respect in this league. We don’t get paid millions of dollars to just be uprooted from our families, friends and homes and be traded on the spot. It’s not just my situation. It’s across the board… I’m not here to whine, complain and create drama. I’m not about that, but I’m here to speak the truth and I’m here to stand up for what I believe in,” Lloyd said in regards to her comments. “I want to make things better. I want to make situations better. I want to win games. I want to lead. I want to help the game grow and in order to do that we’ve got to take steps forward, positive steps forward.”
Lloyd has not talked to Flash head coach and general manager Aaran Lines. When asked if she will, she said “never.”
Lloyd also added that the ‘fans are amazing’. “I love coming back here for them. I really appreciate the fans. They were good to me the two seasons I was here,” she said.
When asked about scoring the only goal, especially given the circumstances, Lloyd said, “Yeah, I mean, you know, I play to win every game. I know what I need to do and I know that I can let my play do the talking. I did happen to have some words before the game, but it was all truth and I don’t regret what I said.”
And a sweet goal it was. After a corner was cleared out in the 49th minute, Dash defender Meghan Klingenberg served the ball back into the box toward the far post where Lloyd was waiting and finished with a solid header to the far post.
The match itself started off slow and the first half was dominated by a lot of back and forth play from both teams. Both teams created a few notable offensive opportunities but were ultimately unable to capitalize.
Halimatu Ayinde and Lady Andrade both made their debuts as members of the Flash.
The Flash had an opportunity right off the bat in the 2nd minute when Elizabeth Eddy blasted a shot from the edge of the box, but Erin McLeod was there to knock it over the crossbar. One minute later Michelle Heyman found Becky Edwards at the top of the box, but Edwards’ strike lacked the needed power to get past McLeod.
In the 5th minute, Toni Pressley took a free kick for the Dash and found Jessica McDonald open in the box, but Flash defender Brittany Taylor was there to deny her the shot.
Lloyd got her first shot of the game in the 22nd minute when she picked up a loose ball and made her way into the box, but her run ended with a shot flying high over the crossbar. Two minutes later, she made her way down the flank and found McDonald waiting in the box, but the play was intercepted and blocked by the Flash.
McLeod came up with a huge save – one of many in the game – in the 24th minute. Eddy made her way past the defense and blasted a rocket toward goal and a leaping McLeod saved the ball with a one-handed knock out.
Heyman put her strong ball handling skills on display in the 30th minute when she made her way into the box and send a ball in from a tough angle and McLeod was there to make the save.
Late in the first half the Dash earned a corner kick and nearly earned their first goal of the night. Henderson took the corner, McDonald jumped up for the header toward goal and Spencer was alert at the post and headed the ball out.
The pressure and physical play picked up in the second half, especially after Lloyd’s goal. The Dash changed things up tactically pushing to a 4-4-2, which the Flash later adjusted to. The Flash pressed hard for the equalizer and the Dash pressed just as hard to cushion their lead.
Lloyd almost netted her second goal of the night in the 61st minute. Klingenberg moved forward and found Lloyd on the break, but the ball got away from her and
D’Angelo was there to snatch the ball.
Ayinde found Spencer charging at the top of the box in the 75th minute, left her the ball and Spencer ripped a powerful shot that went right at McLeod.
Heyman was hungry for the equalizer in the 81st minute when she made her way to the corner. She looked up, found Samantha Mewis making a run into the box, but Ella Masar was there to break up the opportunity.
In the 85th minute, Whitney Engen sent a long ball into the box to a wide-open Edwards, but her strike sent the ball flying high over the net.
There were many close calls for both teams in stoppage time, especially for the Flash. Andrade, Edwards and Samantha Mewis all came close to scoring the equalizer, but ultimately failed to convert. McLeod played a phenomenal match and earned a well-deserved shutout.
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