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Ohai's brace sparks a Houston Dash 2-1 must win comeback

Ohai and Dash teammates Ari Romero, Becky Edwards (14) and Kayyn Kyl (9)e celebrate the rookie forward's game winning goal
Lou Roesch

Houston Dash rookie forward Kealia Ohai’s first career multi-goal game sparked the Houston Dash to a 2-1 come from behind win at BBVA Compass Stadium om Friday night. Houston’s second home win of the season moved the Dash into a seventh place tie with Sky Blue FC and five points clear of NWSL cellar dweling Boston.
Houston fell behind early in what head coach Randy Waldrum ad told his players was a must win game if they expected any chance of reaching the playoffs in their inaugural season.
“I pressured the players the week,” Waldrum said telling them that this was a must win game. Despite the preaching Houston fell behind five minutes into the match when Boston forward Katie Shoepfer intercepted a clearing deep in the Houston end and rifled a shot past a stunned Erin Mcleod. It was the only marker McLeod would allow as the Dash defense tightened and the Houston netminder produced one dazzling save after another in the late going.
Ohai, Houston’s first pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft just missed connecting with an Ari Romero service into the box for the game’s equalizer in the 33rd minute of play.
Instead the 22 year old saved her best moments for the second half. In the 56th, the 5’5” speedster raced down the far sideline with a Kelly McFarlane pass before cutting into the top corner of the 18 yard box and ripping a right footed blast by a Boston double team going top shelf inside the far post.
Five minutes later, Ohai was at it again. This time the former North Carolina All ACC forward streaked through the heart of the Boston defense before lacing the game winner by a helpless Alyssa Naeher.
Waldrum who called Ohai one of the best forwards in the nation on draft day was effusing superlatives once again following the match.
“She’s been our best player since probably Washingtonwhen we lost that late minute game,” gushed a proud Randy Waldrum. “I think she’s just been tearing it up so it was great to see her get rewarded for the work she’s put in.”
Houston (5-10-1 16 points) missed a golden opportunity to ice the game in the 83rd minute when Naeher stopped an Ella Massar penalty shot from the spot keeping the deficit at 2-1.
After turning away the Breakers on successive corner kicks in the 85th minute, McLeod stopped Nkem Ezurike from point blank range six yards out in the final minute of regulation.
With four minutes of stoppage time added on, McLeod continued to dazzle turning away Jazmin Reeves from close range as the clock wound down preserving a much needed Houston win.
Waldrum was ecstatic about the team’s fifth win of the season.
“Obviously, I am extremely excited,” said a happy but tired head coach. “It’s been awhile since we won and only the second time at home.I thought the girls gave a great effort especially in the second half. I am extremey proud of the effort. To be down at halftime and to come back speaks to the effort of this team.”
Houston forwards Nina Burger, Ohai and newcomer Melissa Henderson combined for six shots on target and two goals. Ohai was quick to credit Henderson with just a day of training under her belt after being acquired from FC Kansas City on Wednesday with being instrumental in the success of the Houston offense.
“One thing I noticed about Mel,” said Ohai. “was that every attack seemed to begin with her having the ball and finding the right pass.”
With seven games left in the regular season, Houston looks to extend its “must win” home streak when they return to the pitch on Thursday night July 17, 2014 against the Washington Spirit. Kick-off is set 8:00p.m. CDT.

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