Houston Dash vs Orlando Pride preview: Houston looks to turn things around
Houston Dash vs Orlando Pride preview: Houston looks to turn things around

The National Women’s Soccer League returns to action this weekend after an international break. Week 9 brings the Houston Dash hosting the Orlando Pride, and this time the Dash will be playing in the evening rather than the late afternoon.

Houston needs points now

Currently at the bottom of the table, the Houston Dash are in desperate need of results. They aren’t out of the playoff race quite yet, but they will be if they don’t turn things around soon. Carli Lloyd returns to the Dash after a couple of months on loan to Manchester City. Lloyd will be a great addition to an already talented attack and hopefully her knack for scoring goals when it counts will come in handy this weekend. Forward Melissa Henderson announced retirement earlier this week, and she leaves just as Lloyd returns making room for the midfielder on the roster.

The Rachel Daly at outside back idea has to end for the Dash. Having her track forwards on the outside isn’t worth losing her attacking threat in the front, and it’s painfully clear the Dash have been missing a spark in the attack for awhile now. With Lloyd returning, having the likes of her along with Daly and Kealia Ohai all going to goal would be a nightmare for any team. In addition, forward Sarah Hagen will face her former club, Orlando Pride, for the first time since joining the Dash. Finding the right balance in the offense is incredibly important, especially since the Dash has all the talent they need in order to score goals every match.

Roccaro (left) and Hagen (right) heading the ball in last year's match, when Hagen was with the Pride. | Source: Trask Smith

Orlando looks to climb the table

The Pride sit at number seven on the table, and look to improve as they return to action this weekend. Before the international break, they looked to be in great form when they came out victorious over the Boston Breakers in a 2-0 win. Although this club has struggled to earn the result much like the Dash, things could be looking up for them.

Alex Morgan returns to the club after being on loan to Lyon, but she will be out for a few more weeks due to her hamstring injury suffered while abroad. They are also without goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who is out for several weeks with a hip injury. Despite this, the Pride look to earn results in Houston this weekend. With the likes of Marta coming to town, Houston’s inconsistent backline is sure to have some trouble keeping any threats at bay. Chioma Ubogagu returns to the home of her former club, Houston Dash, and although she wasn’t as efficient in scoring as the Dash has hoped, she’s been looking pretty good with the Pride so far. It’ll be interesting to see how she matches up against her old club if head coach Tom Sermanni gives her the nod.

The Houston Dash host the Orlando Pride at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, June 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 pm Eastern Time and will be streamed on the go90 app and website.