The Houston Dash will look to extend their unbeaten streak to four games as they host the defending champion Portland Thorns in a Friday night NWSL battle, the first since the mega trade that the Dash partook in this past week.
The Thorns fell out of playoff position after drawing the Chicago Red Stars this past weekend. They currently sit in fifth place with a 4-4-4 (16 points) record. Houston is still in seventh place but are three points behind a playoff spot with 14 points and a 3-4-5 record.
Thorns look for a win without Horan
The defending champions tied Chicago 1-1 in the previous game but didn’t come out unscathed as their pivotal midfielder and US national team player Lindsey Horan earned her fifth yellow card of the season early in the second half. Horan was the teams goal scorer and is tied for second in the league in goals with five, one behind her teammate Christine Sinclair.
Portland will lean on Sinclair to help spark the attack. The last time these teams met, both sides were only able to score a single goal. Swiss international Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic was the goal scorer for that game, scoring late to earn her team the draw and a point. The team will look to her as well as Australian-international Ellie Carpenter to help fill the void that Horan and Tobin Heath will leave. Heath is recovering from another ankle sprain and did not play against the Red Stars.
The Portland defense will look to solidify their defense. Britt Eckerstrom is still expected to be in goal, but the backline could be strengthened by the possible return of Emily Sonnett. The USWNT player has missed the last few games with a back injury but has been questionable for a few games and could finally return.
Houston looks to continue momentum with new faces
Houston hasn’t lost a game in over a month and have gone 3-1-3 in their last seven games. The transition of forward Rachel Daly from backline to front line has attributed to this, the English-international won player of the month for May scoring her four goals in that span. Daly is sitting on four yellow cards coming into this game, meaning that one more will earn her a one-game suspension
While Houston has only had one game to adjust to the loss of midfielder Kristie Mewis, who was just as responsible for the Dash’s spark, they will look to the newly-acquired Sofia Huerta and Taylor Comeau. The team officially acquired the two from the Red Stars on Monday in a midseason three team trade.
Huerta, who has seen action for the national team in the backline, played in the midfield and as a forward for Chicago, but could look to fill in as an outside back. Comeau could see herself inserted in the midfield on Friday to fill that void left by Mewis.
Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be streaming live on go90.com and the go90 app which is available for download on iOS and Android devices.