Washington Spirit strike early to earn 1-0 win over Houston Dash in NWSL Challenge Cup
Washington Spirit beat Houston Dash 1-0 in their final preliminary match in the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup.
An early chance came as Dash's Katie Naughton received a yellow card just outside the box to tee up a Spirit free kick. Tegan McGrady took it but smashed it straight at keeper Jane Campbell.
However, minutes later Spirit went ahead through Bayley Feist.
She hit a ball in that looked to be going wide, Campbell thought the same and it rolled in at the far post.
Spirit then took control of the half, creating more chances. Dash's only shot on target was from captain Rachel Daly after she made a great break and aimed for the top right corner.
The second half started slowly and Spirit captain Andi Sullivan went off with a suspected knee injury.
The loss of their leader didn’t stop Spirit from shining though as Ashley Sanchez and Ashley Hatch continually looked threatening in the box.
And Dash also showed glimpses of promise as they attempted to score an equaliser. Their best effort came in the last ten minutes of the game as Brianna Visalli came on for Katie Stengal.
The former Birmingham City player put in several crosses, the most promising coming in the 82nd as she hit the perfect ball in but both Daly and Kirstie Mewis couldn’t get a foot to it.