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The Houston Dash took an important step toward a first-ever berth in the NWSL Playoffs with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars tonight at SeatGeek Stadium. 

It was Houston’s ninth win of the year, matching the team single-season record set in 2018, and the team-best sixth road win of the season. With the victory, the Dash moved to the top of the NWSL table on 33 points, pending the results of games later this weekend. 

 Forward Ebony Salmon scored her ninth goal of the season in the 25th minute to give Houston the 1-0 lead. Nichelle Prince, who played in the midfield against the Red Stars, ran onto a long outlet from goalkeeper Jane Campbell down the right flank before finding Salmon, who was running into the box. Salmon took two touches before striking the ball into the far corner of the net for Houston’s first goal of the night.  

The goal was Salmon’s ninth of the season, moving her within two of the Dash’s all-time single-season record of 11 set by Kealia (Ohai) Watt in 2016. 

Campbell kept a clean sheet for the sixth time this season, although she was only forced to make one save thanks to a stellar effort by her teammates in front of her. 

Forward Maria Sánchez earned a corner after intercepting a pass at the edge of the penalty area. Sanchez was able to force the turnover after Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher played the ball into the far corner. She carried the ball into the penalty area, but a sliding effort from a Chicago defender sent the ball over the endline for the corner kick. 

Prince almost extended the Dash lead in the 71st minute after Salmon was able to retain possession deep in Chicago’s box. Salmon then found Prince who was streaking down the middle of the box. Prince’s shot sailed just over the cross bar and into the stands. 

Chicago created a dangerous chance moments later when forward Mallory Pugh drove down the right wing before firing a shot that was deflected out for a corner kick. Campbell was able to easily corral the ensuing corner to snuff out the threat. 

Campbell made her only save of the night in the 77th minute when Pugh found space for a shot from 20 yards. Pugh ran onto a through ball between the Houston center backs and fired a low right-footed shot that Campbell easily smothered. 

Salmon tested Naeher in the 80th minute with a right-footed shot from the top of the penalty area, but her shot was easily saved by the Chicago goalkeeper. Sánchez forced a save from Naeher in the 90th minute as well as Houston sought to close out the match. 

The Dash return to PNC Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24 for the final home game of the regular season against OL Reign for Fan Appreciation Night. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT and can be streamed live on Paramount+ and Twitch (intl.). Fans can purchase tickets here.