The Houston Dash hope to notch their first win at home at BBVA Compass Stadium Friday as they host the Chicago Red Stars. This will be the Dash's second clash against the Red Stars and after the tie against FC Kansas City Sunday, there is potential to build momentum for that illusive win.
Red Hot Red Stars
When Houston and Chicago last met, it would kick off a three-game winning streak for the Red Stars. So, pardon the pun, but the Chicago's women's team is red hot right now. They just beat Houston by one goal, however, they would go on to defeat the Boston Breakers twice in one week, the first time 3-1 and the second 4-1.
The wins have Chicago sitting nicely in second place in the league. Players the Houston defense will need to keep an eye out for are Red Stars captain Lori Chalupny and forward Jen Hoy. Chalupny has played every minute of Chicago's season so far and tallied two goals during the recent matches against Boston. Hoy has scored a goal in each of the Red Stars' last three games, including the lone goal against Houston. She is the club's leading goal scorer of course. Shutting her down will be important.
Getting past the defense will be difficult as well. Looking at the stats of the Red Stars defense, the back line has only given up five goals in the last seven games and nevermore than one goal per match. It's extremely impressive. Their veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc heads up the defense and sits right behind Hope Solo with shut-outs in the league and overall goalkeeper stats.
After an encouraging tie on the road against FC Kansas City last week, the Dash could very well be on the track upward. The team battled back from being behind twice in that game to nab the draw. Might not seem like much, but it could be the rolling start Houston needs to claim victory for the first time at home.
Once again, one of the biggest assets for the Dash in front is Austrian international Nina Burger. She tallied her first assist last weekend as she helped midfielder Jordan Jackson grab her first goal of the season. It had been 385 minutes since the Dash's last goal. So now they have that out of the way, hopefully the goals will start to happen more. Goals, as you can imagine, are the thing lacking from this team right now.
Houston sits last in the league when it comes to goals this season; the team has only scored five times in the past seven games. With players like Burger and Ella Masar upfront, it's a bit hard to comprehend. Finishing is still something the Dash are struggling with.
The talent is there in the offense. With midfielders like Kaylyn Kyle, Becky Edwards, Teresa Noyola and Jordan Jackson to feeding the ball forward, the opportunities are there. And Burger, Masar and rookie Kealia Ohai are great at making their own chances as well. Maybe it's the jitters of the first season as a team, maybe it's taking them a bit to mesh together well ... whatever the case, the hope now is with the 2-2 draw against FCKC, Houston can look forward to scoring more goals, starting with the Red Stars.
Houston and Chicago will face off this evening at 7 p.m. in BBVA Compass Stadium. Links to watch the game will be posted on Dynamo Theory before kickoff.