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Houston Dash earn first win of season, top Sky Blue FC 3-2

The Houston Dash earned their first win of the season during a wild road matchup with Sky Blue FC Saturday night.

The Dash (1-3-2, 5 points) broke out of a scoring slump and held on for a 3-2 victory against Sky Blue FC (0-3-1, 1 point) in front of an announced crowd of 2,065 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J.

Houston coach Vera Pauw celebrated her first win with the Dash, while the New Jersey side anchored by star Carli Lloyd is still hunting for its first victory of the 2018 season.

Lindsay Agnew scrambled to keep a corner kick alive and forward Nichelle Prince put away the rebound to give the Dash a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.

Sky Blue scored an equalizer in the 57th minute when Lloyd set up Shea Groom on a dangerous run. Groom fed Katylyn Johnson inside the six-yard box and Johnson easily put away her first goal of the season.

The Dash reponded three minutes later when Rachel Daly’s cross into the box was bobbled by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, falling into the net and giving Houston a 2-1 lead.

Johnson scored again in the 73rd minute when Lloyd played the ball in to her and Johnson converted a header to the far post that Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell couldn’t deflect.

The Dash, however, kept pushing for three points.

Thembi Kgatlana ran up the right side of the box to gather a long pass and slotted a cross between Sky Blue defenders to Veronica Latsko, who easily pushed the ball into the opposite corner of the net with Sheridan still recovering from her diving attempt to deflect Kgatlana’s cross.

It was the first time Lloyd faced the Dash since she was traded by the club during the offseason to her native New Jersey side. She finished with three shots on goal.

“We played fairly well in the first half, but I really liked the response we had in the second half tonight,” Sky Blue FC coach Denise Reddy said. “We established a good rhythm and scored two goals, but we just came out a little bit unfortunate in the end. On a good day, we likely come away with the result. Overall, I was happy with our response in the second half and in finding a way to put two goals into the back of the net.”

Houston returns home to host Portland at 8 p.m. Wednesday, while Sky Blue FC plays at Seattle at 10 p.m. Saturday.

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