With regular season play coming to a close, the Houston Dash look to host the Seattle Reign to finish up the season. They look to finish the season on a high note before entering the offseason while the Reign - depending on other games - hope to sneak their way into the 2016 playoffs next weekend.
Everything on the line for Seattle
After making it all the way to the finals - as well as winning the NWSL Shield - for two consecutive seasons, the Seattle Reign are on the verge of possibly not making the playoffs this season. Sitting at fifth place with 27 points, they’re only a mere two points away from making the cut. Even with three points from this match, the Reign could still see their season end after this weekend depending on the result of the Western New York Flash’s match Saturday night.
With a big win over the current league leaders Washington Spirit almost two weeks ago, the Reign have the momentum to come away from houston with a win. Their all time record against the Dash is 6-0-0, with the latest victory back in June at Memorial Stadium. The problem for Seattle is being able to come away with a road win, seeing as they haven’t done so since April 24 when they visited the Boston Breakers. A bright side for Seattle is midfielder Kim Little, who has scored eight goals - including a hat trick last season - on the Dash since they joined the league in 2014. Little, along with players such as Nahomi Kawasumi and Jess Fishlock, will be the driving force behind Seattle’s attack against Houston.
Houston playing for strong end to 2016
After turning the season around in July, the Houston Dash are looking to make their mark at the end of the fourth NWSL season. Their offense started to piece itself together a little too late for the playoff race, but it has made a case of itself with Houston winning three of its past four matches and forward Kealia Ohai in the race for NWSL Golden Boot. If the Dash foundation from this season holds through the offseason and into 2017, then playoffs will definitely be in their future next season.
Breaking down Seattle’s defense is key for Houston. If they can maintain possession of the ball and be patient with building up play then finding the back of the net won’t be as difficult. Dash Captain Ohai will be a huge player to look at during the match, and it’s crucial she links up with player such as Carli Lloyd, Rachel Daly and Denisse O’Sullivan in order to be successful. Andressa’s quick and crafty style of play will help get around the experienced Seattle midfield, and Janine Beckie’s scoring threat will help the Dash out a lot.
The Houston Dash face the Seattle Reign this Sunday, September 25 in BBVA Compass Stadium. Kick-off is at 9:30 Eastern Time and will be aired on Fox Sports 1.