Dash 1, Pride 0

5 kicks from Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride

The Dash picked up their first win at home this season. Photo by Wilf Thorne/ISI Photos

The Houston Dash picked up their second win of the season with a 1-0 win over the Orlando Pride on Sunday. Forward Kealia Ohai scored the game's only goal in the 7th minute, one that would end up being the match-winning goal.

Here are five observations from the win:

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1) Ohai's stunner

As the Dash continue to find their grove, their scorers have begun to find the back of the net. Ohai's goal opens her account in 2019 to join Nichelle Prince, Sofia Huerta and Rachel Daly on the scorer's standings.

The way she cut inside the box and curled in the game-winner was reminiscent of the Kealia Ohai that won the adoration of Dash fans. She was much more of a protagonist in the front line, at least the most she's been all season.

Goalscorers perform better with confidence and this one will surely carry some over to the next couple of games. The Dash will look to count on that as they aim to better their average of one goal per match.

2) Defense comes up with a home shutout

The Dash defense saw Lindsay Agnew return to the right back spot to form the back four with Polkinghorne, Brooks and Chapman. They held Orlando to zero shots on goal.

Taking in consideration that Orlando is bottom of the table and was without three key players due to the U.S. Women's National Team World Cup preparations, the Dash defense did what was asked of them and saw the game out for the full three points. Also a positive, they showed discipline by not conceding a penalty after doing so for three straight games.

The shutout is the second for the defense this year and first at home this season. Next week they'll face a good test on the road at Utah Royals.

3) Managing injuries

One of the underlying storylines for the Dash is the injury situation saw five players sidelined for this match. Among the players out are Taylor Comeau and Christine Nairn.

Comeau started at right back in the season opener but was injured in training and has been out since. If healthy, it's safe to assume she would still be starting at right back.

Nairn featured in each of the previous games as a defensive midfielder next to Sophie Schmidt. A positive sign for the team was the return of Kristie Mewis who entered the match in the 77th minute - her first appearance since her return from an ACL tear two weeks ago.

4) Winning at home

The Dash improved their record with the win but also jumped up to third with the result, one point behind second place North Carolina and two behind leaders Utah Royals. Only four teams advance to the NWSL Playoffs at the end of the season.

Winning at home is a must if the Dash want to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They don't have to be perfect, in fact they won't be after their loss last week, but they can't let teams come into town and leave unscathed.

The win on Sunday is a good step towards solidifying strength at home. Small steps towards a big goal.

5) Clarkson with best start for a Dash season

James Clarkson is off to the best start for a Dash Head Coach in their first year with the club. The 2-1-1 start has the club near the top of the standings, setting them up to succeed rather than putting the team in a hole.

It's obviously still a small sample size but what can be taken away is the team's upward trend to play better at home and the play of difference makers in Ohai, Huerta and Campbell. The negatives is that the team will be tested as six of Sunday's starters are expected to be absent due to the FIFA Women's World Cup next month.

For now, the team is still in the honeymoon period with Clarkson. Players look to be bought in and unified under the first-year manager and the results are coming in.

Dash player of the game: Kealia Ohai

Next up:

Saturday, May 11 at Utah Royals (2:30 p.m. CT, YahooSports.com)

ELIS INJURED IN COMEBACK WIN

5 kicks from Houston Dynamo's 2-1 win over D.C. United

Credit Trask Smith/Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo withstood Wayne Rooney's D.C. United plus an injury to star player Alberth Elis on their way to their seventh win of the season. El Campo native Memo Rodriguez and off-season signing Thomas McNamara scored in the 67th and 68th minutes, respectively, to lead the club to a comeback victory.

Here are five observations from the win:

1) Call it a comeback

HIGHLIGHTS: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United | May 18, 2019 youtu.be

Both the Dynamo and D.C. United were undefeated this season in matches where they took the lead first. Houston's record was 1-1-2 when giving up the first goal.

On Saturday night, they didn't need to rely on the advantage of opening up the scoreline. Wayne Rooney scored the match's first goal right after the start of the second half before the Dynamo turned on the pressure in attack.

Perhaps the most impressing part of the result was doing it without the wide threats of Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto on the field. Instead it was their substitutes, coincidentally, that drove home the victory.

2) Winning without Elis

Alberth Elis took a headbutt to the side of his skull at the start of the match when he and D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum jumped to dispute a ball in the air. Both players were taken out to the sidelines to get checked, Birnbaum had his head taped after bleeding, and were eventually allowed to return.

It would be minutes later that Elis asked for his substitution, which came in the 11th minute, and was subsequently taken to the locker room for a further evaluation. Despite passing the MLS concussion protocol, the Honduran playmaker wasn't well enough to continue the match.

Elis has been the most influential player for the team this season and a win without him will be a confidence booster. The big question now will be how long the team will be without one their most important contributors.

3) Memo leads the way

An inspired Memo Rodriguez was key to the Dynamo overturning the deficit at home, helping the team avoid a three-match winless streak. The homegrown midfielder took the responsibility of providing a spark in attack by creating his own shooting opportunity.

His goal in the 67th minute injected energy into the crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium and into his team. The Dynamo quickly went for another score and got it just a minute later.

With five goals and two assists, Rodriguez is enjoying his best season for the club. He'll likely pass his career high for minutes played in one season during the first half of the following match - eight games sooner than what it took him to reach that mark last year.

4) A win for Maynor

Defender Maynor Figueroa missed Saturday's match due to his father's passing on Wednesday night. The Honduran defender was on the field for the Dynamo against Timbers FC when the news broke in his home country.

The club showed solidarity with the seven-year Premier League veteran by dedicating the match to him in their pregame team photo. Figueroa joined the team in the off-season after three years at rival FC Dallas and has appeared in the majority of the Dynamo starting lineups this year.

Alejandro Fuenmayor took Figueroa's place in Saturday's starting XI and is expected to continue until Figueroa's return. The Dynamo have two league games left before this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup, a tournament Figueroa is expected to feature in for Honduras.

5) Rooney draws crowd but no sellout

Manchester United and England National Team Legend Wayne Rooney was in town with D.C. United. His appearance, unfortunately for the Dynamo, did very little for the gate in comparison to the visits of other league draws like LA's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Several Manchester United jerseys were seen in what was announced to be a crowd of 15,811 attendees at the 22,000 capacity stadium. That number is only the third highest crowd seen this year after the opening match and the derby against FC Dallas.

The three-time World Cup veteran and former UEFA Champions League winner held up his end with a goal in the 46th minute and, despite the loss, has helped D.C. to a top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Still, hope is bleak if a player of his stature has that little effect on the overall Houston soccer market - if they even knew he was in town.

Dynamo player of the game: Memo Rodriguez

Next up:

Saturday, May 25 at Minnesota United FC (7:00 p.m. CT, KUBE57) [ESPN+ for U.S. non-Houston markets]

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