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Lloyd Sees Red as Dash Draw Thorns

The Dash went up early, the Thorns came back late, and Carli Lloyd saw red. After ninety minutes of a rain delay, it was a wild night and a tale of two halves in Houston.

Houston came out with a strong press that was immediately effective against the Thorns backline. In the 8th minute, Lloyd forced a turnover in the Dash’s defensive half and sent it wide to forward Nichelle Prince, catching Thorns left back Meghan Klingenberg up the pitch. Prince drove up the right flank before cutting inside and passing out to forward Rachel Daly, who dribbled into the box before slotting a low ball past Emily Menges and Allie Long. Janine Beckie one-timed the ball with her right foot, sending it low past a diving Adrianna Franch.

Beckie put in a strong shift from her midfield spot, forcing Franch into a save fifteen minutes later. However, Portland pushed back, with Klingenberg testing Jane Campbell in goal before striker Christine Sinclair had Portland’s best chance of the first half.

Defender Emily Sonnett launched a free kick from just past the midfield line in the 34th minute. Midfielder Cami Privett headed it out, but it fell down at the top of the box right at the feet of Sinclair. The Canadian international took one touch to settle before launching a rocket past defender Janine Van Wyk, aimed at the far upper 90. Campbell read it well and reached out with one palm to tip it over the crossbar.

The Thorns came out of the locker room strong, and the second half was nearly all Portland. Both Tyler Lussi and Ashley Herndon made their NWSL debuts, with Lussi in particular offering a strong performance. The Dash appeared to take their foot off the gas, and although they continued to get looks on goal, most attempts were just off frame.

In the 62nd minute, an open Sinclair received the ball at the top of the box but chose to pass it off to an equally open Long, who sent in a low roller that Campbell easily collected. The Dash replied immediately and came close to doubling their lead when Privett headed it just over goal after a free kick taken by Poliana.

Franch came up huge in the 71st minute with a stop that probably denied the Dash three points. Lloyd beat three Thorns players on the dribble before splitting the center backs with a through ball that Prince snuck onto, leaving her one on one with the goalkeeper. If she had one-timed it, it likely would have been into the net, but she took a touch to settle, and that gave Franch the time to come off her line and make the grab.

The Thorns continued to dominate much of the second half in their push for a goal. In the first minute of stoppage time, Long was fouled by Amber Brooks in a dangerous spot on top of the box. Lindsey Horan took the kick, sending it through the wall and over Jane Campbell for an equalizer.

Not even a minute later, Lloyd received a straight red for a foul on Mallory Weber that left every Dash player arguing with the officials, and that essentially closed out the game.

The draw moves Houston to seventh place and leaves the Thorns in fifth, one point behind Seattle. Portland returns home next week to take on first-place North Carolina in the Lifetime game of the week, while the Dash, sans Lloyd, host the Spirit.

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