The Houston Dash earned a crucial point in their drive for a spot in the 2022 NWSL Playoffs with a 1-1 draw with Angel City FC this evening at PNC Stadium. 

Forward Maria Sánchez scored her second goal of the regular season in the 42nd minute off of a short corner kick. Sánchez was 25 yards out when she received the ball from defender Natalie Jacobs near the corner of the penalty area on the right flank and curled an inch-perfect left-footed shot into the upper left corner of the net, leaving Angel City goalkeeper Didi Haracic no chance. 

Three minutes into the second half, Angel City scored the equalizer. ACFC’s Simone Charley capitalized on a miscommunication between two Dash defenders and was able to get in behind the back line to roll the ball into an empty net. 

A minute after Angel City’s equalizer, Sánchez nearly put the Dash back on top when she capped off a counterattack with a low left-footed shot to the near post. She ran onto a pass from midfielder Marisa Viggiano on the left wing and forced an excellent diving save from Haracic to keep the ball out. 

Sánchez set up another near-miss in the 59th minute off of a corner kick. Her corner curled in and found the head of Jacobs at the six-yard box. The defender’s headed shot beat Haracic but nicked the crossbar and deflected out of play. Moments later at the other end of the pitch, defender Allysha Chapman made a crucial sliding clearance on the goal line to keep the score even.

Forward Valerie Gauvin, who was subbed into the game in the 70th minute, almost scored her first NWSL goal with her first touch of the game. Forward Nichelle Prince, who had the ball in the right corner of the pitch, played centrally to Gauvin, but her touch missed the back of the net by mere inches off the near post.  

Forward Bri Visalli, who came on for Viggiano, the second half, nearly found the winner as the clock ticked over into stoppage time. She stole the ball off of an Angel City defender and carried it across the top of the penalty area before firing a left-footed shot. Her shot deflected off of a defender, leaving Haracic helpless, but caromed off the crossbar. 

 With only three matches left in the regular season, the Dash continue their drive toward a first-ever playoff berth with a trip to Chicago to take on the Red Stars Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. CDT. Chicago sit just three points behind Houston in the NWSL table, setting up a crucial match for both sides as they jockey for playoff positioning. 

The Dash return to Houston for the final home contest of the regular season on Saturday, Sept. 24 against OL Reign at PNC Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24. Kickoff for that match is set for 7:30 p.m. CDT and tickets are available at HoustonDash.com.