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Washington Spirit, Houston Dash battle to scoreless draw

The Spirit couldn’t solve a defense-first, second, and third Dash side on the first-ever Pride Night at the Plex

Kelley Piper

The Washington Spirit controlled proceedings for much of the final hour, but couldn’t solve the Houston Dash, settling for a 0-0 draw on a clear night at the Maryland SoccerPlex. On the club’s first-ever official Pride Night, and on a night where Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman’s #15 jersey was retired, Washington never quite engineered a truly great scoring chance against an organized, conservative Houston side.

With regulars Paige Nielsen and Tegan McGrady out, Richie Burke was forced to make some changes. McKenzie Berryhill made her first start for Washington in Nielsen’s spot, while Dorian Bailey moved from the midfield to left back. That opened the door for rookie Bayley Feist to get her first pro start, playing on the left side of midfield.

The changes, along with an obdurate and organized Dash side, contributed to a slow opening. Ashley Hatch’s miss from an angle in the 22nd minute was the first shot either side managed, as both midfields were able to effectively box their opponent in.

Hatch made Jane Campbell work in the 31st minute, after a sequence prompted by Andi Sullivan. The Spirit moved the ball into the attack, with Feist eventually slipping a delicate through ball in for Hatch, who was running in behind Ally Prisock. Hatch had to lunge to get a toe to the ball, catching Campbell by surprise, but the shot went right at the Dash goalkeeper, who gave up no rebound.

Hatch tried to spark the game to life in the early moments of the second half, powering her way across the top of the box before turning to fire, but her shot hooked just over the crossbar.

Still, the game fell into a familiar pattern, with Houston containing the Spirit despite the home side having most of the possession. A Satara Murray giveaway in the 68th minute nearly changed that, but Jordan DiBiasi couldn’t quite escape Murray and Prisock in time to find a pass, and her shot across goal skipped wide.

Substitute Megan Crosson, playing up front, cut in from the right side before forcing Campbell into a solid save in the 78th minute, and Burke’s final two substitutions (Carlin Hudson and Arielle Ship) were both designed to push more numbers forward. but despite a series of late corners and long throw-ins from Sam Staab, the Houston defense held firm, allowing them to secure a draw in a game in which they did not place a single shot on goal.

The Spirit will try to get back to winning ways next Saturday, June 29, as they host the North Carolina Courage at 7:00pm. Highlights will be added when they become available.

Box Score

NWSL Regular Season (Game 9)
Washington Spirit 0
Houston Dash 0

Spirit (4312): Aubrey Bledsoe; Tori Huster, McKenzie Berryhill, Sam Staab, Dorian Bailey; Andi Sullivan (C), Meggie Dougherty Howard (Arielle Ship 86), Bayley Feist (Carlin Hudson 83); Jordan DiBiasi; Ashley Hatch, Cali Farquharson (Megan Crosson 68)

Dash (4231): Jane Campbell; Ari Romero, Ally Prisock, Amber Brooks, Satara Murray; Haley Hanson, Christine Nairn; Sofia Huerta (Betsy Brandon 91+), Kristie Mewis (Cece Kizer 82), Kealia Ohai (C); Jamia Fields (Ariana Calderon 64)

Spirit - None
Dash - Nairn 44, Calderon 73