The Houston Dash became the first team to beat the Portland Thorns FC this season after mounting a comeback to beat the reigning NWSL Champion, 2-1.
After threatening for the majority of the match with five shots and three on target, forward Ebony Salmon finally cashed in for the first goal of the season in the 71st minute of the match. Sanchez found Salmon who turned on to beat the defender take the shot past Portland goalkeeper Bella Bixby.
Midfielder Joelle Anderson scored her first goal of the season in the 59th minute. Salmon took the initial shot on the far side that forced Bixby to punch the ball away right to Anderson who was standing unmarked on the near post.
Houston had an early look five minutes into the match with forward Ebony Salmon taking a shot off target.
Rookie midfielder Sophie Hirst made a key block in the 11th minute of the match after Portland forward Olivia Moultrie was in the middle of the box unmarked.
The Thorns looked to have scored in the 13th minute of the match after the Portland attack was called offside by the officiating crew and confirmed by the video assistant referee.
Salmon forced a turnover in the midfield and was able to create a transition play. The ball found forward María Sánchez who took a shot but was punched away by Portland goalkeeper Bella Bixby. The rebound was cleared by the Portland defense before Houston could recover and take a second shot.
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell made a save in the 32nd minute after Crystal Dunn was left open. Campbell made three saves in the 2-1 win.
Portland took the lead in the 33rd minute after Portland midfielder Rocky Rodrigez scored.
In the 39th minute Salmon and forward Michelle Alozie nearly combined for the equalizer. A few minutes later Salmon was able to get past a defender to force a corner kick. Hirst, who earned her first start, nearly equalized on the first attempt.
Four minutes into second half stoppage time Salmon took another shot on target in what would be the final opportunity of the first half.
Alozie had two back-to-back plays that could have led to the equalizer five minutes into the second half. Alozie took a shot and the ball appeared to have hit a Portland defender on the hand. However, the play was not reviewed for a potential handball in the box. Alozie then took another shot on goal that forced Bixby to make the stop.
Sanchez nearly scored in the 88th minute of the match to extend Houston’s lead late in the match.
Houston will host San Diego Wave FC on Saturday, May 20 at Shell Energy Stadium. Houston will celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Fans can purchase tickets here.