Match Preview: Houston Dash vs Seattle Reign FC

Erin McLeod will face a tough test agains the Reign. - Trask Smith

After cutting through the Boston Breakers, Houston takes on the team ranked first in the NWSL.

Coming off of a sparkling victory over the Boston Breakers, the Houston Dash will face Seattle Reign FC on Sunday, April 27, at 6:00pm. The two teams will square off at Memorial Stadium.

Houston’s fan base is still giddy from the brace delivered by Teresa Noyola that pushed Houston to the win. If that weren’t enough, Noyola was also voted NWSL Player of the Week, an accolade decided by media. But it’s going to take more than bliss to triumph over Seattle Reign FC.

Seattle the Queens of Offense

Seattle Reign sits comfortably on the throne of first place. The team has notched two wins for the 2014 season. While scoring six goals over two games, Seattle has only allowed one goal, giving them the best goal differential in the NWSL.

The Reign packs a powerful punch with Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe. Leroux, a Women’s National Team player, played for the Boston Breakers in 2013. While with the Breakers, Leroux scored 11 goals. This sum placed her in second place for the NWSL golden boot, tied with Abby Wambach and only one goal behind the winner, Lauren Holiday. Leroux was traded to Seattle Reign in November. Megan Rapinoe played alongside Leroux in the Olympics and like many Women’s National Team players, Rapinoe played abroad. She scored 8 goals for Olympique Lyonnais in 2013 and joined Seattle Reign FC for 12 regular season games.

Seattle isn’t content to rest on the talents of one player. The team relies on multiple efforts to create its offense. Midfielder Kim Little leads the team in goals with two. She scored both in her debut performace for Seattle against the Breakers. Little hails from Scotland and was awarded the Professional Footballer’s Association Women's Player of the Year award in 2013.

Seattle is coming off a midweek game against Washington Spirit on April 22. During this game, defenders Amanda Frisbie and Carmelina Moscoto were listed as unavailable for play on the injury report. Despite their absence, Reign’s defense is solid. Goalkeeper Hope Solo will do everything in her power to provide a shutout against Houston. Solo has had well over 100 caps for the U.S. National Team throughout her career.

Will Noyola See more Minutes?

In comparison, the Houston Dash sits in a cool fifth place after last week’s victory over the Breakers. Teresa Noyola leads the team in goals, thanks to last week’s victory in Boston, followed by Ella Masar with one goal.

Noyola was able to make a lasting impact on the game as soon as she entered, 76 minutes in. Noyola sent a howler from Rafa Souza into the top left corner of the goal. When Souza was taken down in the goal box afterwards, Noyola sent the PK past the goalkeeper to collect a brace.

Will Head Coach Randy Waldrum choose to give Noyola more minutes against Seattle Reign? If so, Waldrum may end up going with Becky Edwards, Noyola and Jordan Jackson as his midfield lineup.

As this is written, there is still no news of Kealia Ohai’s ankle injury. Ohai was injured in the season opener and sat the last game out. Tiffany McCarty started in her place against Boston.

After Seattle Reign FC, the Houston Dash will play their second home game of the season against FC Kansas City. The game takes place May 3rd, 7:00pm.

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