Houston Dash / National Women's Soccer League / Washington Spirit

PREVIEW: Houston at Washington

Houston Dash at Washington Spirit
4:00 p.m. ET/Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex
Houston: 1-6-1 (4 points)
Washington: 3-4-1 (10 points)

This is the first meeting of the season between these two clubs who sit in a sixth-place tie (Washington) and eighth place (Houston) respectively. Houston has struggled to find the back of the net but will look to capitalize on the road. Washington hopes to take some momentum from Wednesday’s come-back draw. A win would put the Spirit in sole possession of fifth place and second through fifth would be separated by just three points.

Houston:
Last Match:
May 23 vs. Chicago (L, 3-1)

The Houston Dash scored the first home goal in franchise history after Ella Masar found the back of the net against Chicago in a wild match that featured two red cards—one to Chicago (and Canadian) forward Melissa Tancredi and an ejection to Dash head coach Randy Waldrum. In addition, Masar picked up her fourth yellow card—one more will see her serving a one-game suspension for accumulating five yellow cards.

The Dash have struggled mightily to find the back of the net on the season, scoring just six goals over the course of eight matches. Masar and Mexican midfielder Teresa Noyola lead the club with two goals apiece.

Jordan Jackson, Tiffany McCarty, Stephanie Ochs and Kealia Ohai have all gotten into dangerous spots in the attacking third but only McCarty and Jackson have gotten onto the scoresheet. Ultimately, the Dash need to find an offensive rhythm – with a third of the season complete, Houston must start finding ways to win if it hopes to earn one of the four postseason slots.

With highs near 90 degrees in D.C. this afternoon, the quick turnaround between matches may begin to show in the latter stages of the match.

Washington:
Last Match:
May 21 vs. Sky Blue FC (T, 3-3)

The Washington Spirit are coming off a 3-3 draw on Wednesday against Sky Blue FC in which the Spirit had the lead headed into halftime but relinquished it during a 20 minute span in the second half. Washington managed to get one back in the 76th minute off a Lori Lindsey strike to cut the lead to 3-2 before a penalty kick was whistled in stoppage time. Diana Matheson, who leads the club in scoring with three goals, tallied her fourth of the year when she buried the kick past Jill Loyden.

The Spirit have already scored 14 times this season through their first eight matches—just two shy of last season’s total through 22 matches.

Ali Krieger, Lindsey, Robyn Gayle, Jodie Taylor, Danesha Adams and Christine Nairn have also found the back of the net this season.

Taylor and Nairn have been placed in dangerous situations – Nairn’s goal in the season opener against the Flash was curled in straight off a corner kick and Taylor finished twice last weekend on the eve of her birthday.

The Spirit has lacked an ability to maintain the lead once they do get it. Washington has scored first in four matches and has given up a subsequent goal (or goals) the get right back into the hole. The Spirit will look to Krieger, Gayle and Ashlyn Harris to help the backline maintain its composure.

INJURY REPORT:

The Dash bring a lengthy list of players who are kept out or who are banged up headed into the match. Lindsay Elston remains out with a right high ankle sprain. Jordan Jackson, Teresa Noyola and Osinache Ohale are all bothered by right ankle sprains as well. Erin McCleod will likely be back between the pipes despite a right UCL sprain.

 

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