After a heartbreaking loss last week against Kansas City FC, the Houston Dash look to nab a win against the Chicago Red Stars during a Mother's Day clash at 5 p.m. CT at the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex.
While the Dash have been struggling the past two games, the Chicago Red Stars have not faired well in their past matches either. Against Sky Blue FC, Chicago was able to battle and notch a game tying goal in the second half thanks to rookie forward Hayley Brock.
But before Wednesday's game, the Red Stars were riding a three-game losing streak. The team has only notched a total of two goals thus far in the season - Brock's early second-half goal Wednesday and midfielder Julie Johnston's header in the club's season opener. Obviously they aren't something to admire on offense.
Though they may not be impressive on paper, Chicago still could prove to be a tough opponent. With Johnston, goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and forward Adriana Leon more thank likely back from international duty, the Red Stars will have their full squad on deck.
To combine with those players, Chicago announced the signing of Australian international midfielder Emily Van Egmond Thursday. The 20 year-old co-captain of the Australian women's national team has recently competed with the Western Sydney Wanderers in the Australian W-League, after spending time with American sides Western New York Flash in 2012 and Seattle Reign FC during the 2013 NWSL season. If she starts, she'll be a Red Stars player to watch.
Time to get serious
The Dash on the other hand, could be practically limping after the beating they received last weekend against Kansas FC. Again, the Houston defense seemed to hold strong as long as they could until constant pressure had them buckling. So while it may seem like the Dash have a defensive problem, it really boils down to the offensive line getting serious and finding the desire to get possession, keep possession and score.
The talent is there for Houston. Ella Masar is a great forward who has come up with chances out of no where for Houston in past games this season. She fights hard once she has possession and looks for any opportunity to get a shot on goal or hit a pass to a fellow player. Newly acquired midfielder Kaylyn Kyle reeks of potential as well - not only can she score, but she can provide great assistance to Houston's forward. Rookie Kealia Ohai is another offensive threat at the Dash's disposal. And then fans have Austrian Nina Burger to look forward to when her papers clear.
So the talent is there, the ability is there. Houston must find a way to utilize their scorers. That starts with possession - something the Dash have struggled with since the beginning of the season. The chemistry in the offense seems off as well. This could simply be players not having enough time under their belts playing together- with any luck, practices and matches will fix that.
All in all, if the offense can get serious, can show desire to run at goal and pressure their defense as much as the Dash's defense is tested, the goals will start coming for the Dash.