Alozie scores twice to keep Dash's NWSL playoff hopes alive
Michelle Alozie scored twice to give the visiting Houston Dash a 2-0 victory over Gotham in the National Women's Soccer League on Sunday.
The win at Red Bull Arena moved Houston (6-6-8) up to seventh place in the NWSL standings, just two points out of playoff position. The two teams sitting below the Dash, the Orlando Pride and Angel City, face off Monday and are one point behind.
Just before halftime, Alozie got around goalkeeper Mandy Haught to open the scoring. Gotham blocked a shot, the Dash recovered the ball and found Nichelle Prince, who flicked a pass into the box for Alozie. The forward beat Haught to the ball and slammed her shot into the net.
In the 67th minute, María Sánchez sent a long pass over the top of Gotham's defense. Alozie beat two defenders and chipped a shot from distance over Haught, who was sprinting out of the box trying to block the attempt.
Gotham appeared to score in the opening minutes of stoppage time, but following a video review, Midge Purce was ruled offside. Gotham almost got one back moments later when Esther Gonzalez was fouled inside the box, but Jenna Nighswonger's penalty went off the right post and away from the goal.
Gotham finished with 23 shots, but Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell made seven saves to earn her eighth shutout this season.
The loss kept Gotham (8-6-6) in third place with 30 points from 20 games played.
OL REIGN 1, NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE 1
Bethany Balcer and Kerolin traded goals and the Reign held on with 10 players to earn the draw with the Courage at Lumen Field in Seattle.
The Reign got on the board in the 21st minute when Megan Rapinoe's corner kick found Balcer’s head at the far post. The forward, who was unmarked, redirected the header to the far-post corner.
The Courage responded in the 43rd minute when Kerolin got behind the Reign defense and goalkeeper Claudia Dickey came out to challenge the forward. Kerolin beat Dickey, chipped the ball to herself at the top of the box and finished into an open net. After a long video review for a possible offside on the play, the goal stood.
Just before halftime, the Courage had a counterattack opportunity off a Reign corner, with Kerolin getting a pass on a breakaway. Reign defender Alana Cook slid, taking out Kerolin’s leg just before the penalty area, earning a red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity as the last defender.
The Reign played down a player for the rest of the match, and the Courage had 25 shots, but the home team held on for the draw.
With each team getting a point, the Courage (8-7-5) moved into fourth place.
Dickey made six saves for the Reign (8-8-4), who remain in sixth place, the final playoff spot, to close out the weekend.
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