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Carli, Campbell key the end of Dash losing skid

Carli Lloyd scored her first NWSL goal of 2017 and played a vital role in another as the Houston Dash snapped a six-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory away to Orlando Pride. The win was the first for the Dash since April 29 and the first as a professional for Jane Campbell who got the nod and came up with the clean sheet. Rachel Daly scored the second goal for the Dash. The win was the first for Dash interim head coach Omar Morales who was 0-2-0 since taking over for Randy Waldrum.

A week after losing 4-2 at home to the Pride, Morales made two significant defensive changes. Campbell returned to goal for the first time since conceding five to the Reign in her April 22 debut. And Amber Brooks stepped into central defense for Cari Roccaro who had started every match of the season to date.

The early returns were not promising as several breakdowns led to chances for the Pride. Campbell made a grave error on an early giveaway and the Pride wound up with a corner kick. On the second corner of the sequence, Campbell came off her line and missed the catch and Ali Krieger headed it in unmarked at the back post. The Pride were whistled for a foul against Campbell, but the unmarked attacker exposed holes in the Dash set-piece defending. It also made for some head scratching when on their next corner, the Pride played it short.

The Dash picked up some momentum after the first half hydration break and used the minutes tacked on to the end of the half to take their first lead since April 29. In the third and final added minute the Dash won a free kick and played it backward, looking almost content to get to halftime scoreless. But an opportunity presented itself on the right side. Poliana worked a give-and-go with Lloyd an some laissez-faire defending by Monica and Steph Catley allowed Poliana to dribble toward the penalty area and Lloyd to sneak up behind the play. Poliana laid it off for Lloyd and the two-time World Player of the Year cracked one into the far, upper corner for the opening goal of the match.

Steamy conditions prevented the match from adding much bite after halftime. The Dash struck again in the 62nd minute. A few minutes earlier, Cami Levin made a strong defensive play to prevent Jasmyne Spencer from getting a good look at goal. Spencer was called for a foul and the Dash won the second ball off Campbell’s set piece from inside her 18. The Dash knocked it around in their own half until it went back to Campbell who found Lloyd near the center of the park.

Lloyd easily outfoxed Monica and then delivered a world-class through-ball on the ground to an overlapping Poliana. The Brazilian had a step on Catley and crossed it to Daly who split the Pride central defenders and beat Aubrey Bledsoe with a sweet, one-touch finish to make it 2-0.

The only anxious moment the rest of the way for the Dash was an injury to Kealia Ohai. She went down in the 67th minute at which point the referee called for the hydration break. It appeared Nichelle Prince was getting ready to replace Ohai but she wound up back on the pitch when play resumed. Moments later though she was struggling to stay on her feet and eventually had to be assisted to the bench while Prince went in her place.

Near full time, Marta won a late free kick from no more than two yards outside the area but her attempt to dip the ball on frame found its way into the crowd.

The Dash (3-7-0, 9 points) will look to make it two straight when they return home to face the Breakers on Wednesday night. The Dash’s last two-game win streak last summer was against the Pride and Breakers in reverse order. As for the Pride (3-4-3, 12 pts) their two-game winning streak ended and they are heading north to visit Sky Blue on Wednesday night.

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