The Houston Dash defeated the Chicago Red Stars by a final score of 4-1 behind the first career hat trick from forward Ebony Salmon. The victory came in the first match under interim head coach Juan Carlos Amorós.
Salmon scored her first goal in orange in the 11th minute of the match. Midfielder Shea Groom applied pressure on the Chicago back line which forced a turnover in the box and found Salmon open. The 21-year-old took a shot across her body and snuck the ball just past the fingertips of Chicago’s goalkeeper for the goal.
Despite being denied four minutes earlier, Salmon scored her second goal of the match to complete her first career brace in the first minute of first-half stoppage time to give Houston the two-goal lead heading into the locker room.
Salmon continued her torrid performance in the second half, as she found her third goal of the night in the 46th minute to complete her first career hat trick, and the second for the Dash this season. Forward Ryan Gareis, who made her first career start across all competitions, found Salmon running up the middle who beat the defender to score.
Three hat tricks have occurred across the NWSL this season, two of which belong to Houston. Forward Nichelle Prince, who is preparing to compete in this Monday’s Concacaf W Championship final, scored the first hat trick in club history on June 3 against Orlando. In the 10-year history of the league there have only been three instances when a single club has recorded several hat tricks in a single season.
Chicago got a goal back in the 88th minute, as Samantha Fisher found the back of the net to make the score 3-1.
Forward Joelle Anderson scored in the third minute of additional time in the second half, as she received a pass from forward Cali Farquharson and maneuvered her way around the defense to let off a shot that squirted through the hands of Chicago’s goalkeeper. The goal, which made the score 4-1, was the first of Anderson’s NWSL career.
Goalkeeper Linsey Harris made a key save in the 35th minute after Chicago forward Ella Stevens had an open look on toward the goal. The second chance ball was promptly cleared by the Houston back line.
The Dash put the Chicago defense under pressure early in the match with five corners and four shots in the first thirty minutes of the match. Forward Maria Sanchez, who returned in her first game back from international duty, created three chances before the hydration break.
In the 84th minute, forward Paulina Gramaglia came on as a substitute for Groom, marking the NWSL debut for the 19-year-old Argentine. In doing so, Gramaglia became the youngest player ever to feature for the Dash in any competition, at 19 years and four months old. The previous youngest was Linda Motlhalo, who debuted at 19 and nine months in 2018.
Gareis made her first career season start, across all competitions. The South Carolina product was drafted in the 2022 NWSL College Draft and was Houston’s only selection. Harris also made her first regular season start in goal for the Dash. Harris had previously made her 2022 debut in the final match of the 2022 Challenge Cup.
The Dash are back in action on July 31 as they take on the NJ/NY Gotham FC at 4:00 p.m. at Red Bull Arena.