After suffering a loss Sunday to the Chicago Red Stars the Houston Dash have a quick turnaround with a mid-week game at BBVA Stadium against the Portland Thorns. Houston sits eighth in the NWSL standings while the Thorns are in fourth place.
A thorny start
The Dash kicked off their first ever season opener back in April at home against the Thorns in a hard fought match that they lost 1-0. The Houston squad won their next match on the road in Boston but have lost their lost three matches. The team has an injury list that seems to grow in size after each match that saw both Lindsay Elston and team captain Erin McLeod miss Sunday's match due to injury.
Every match the team has played this season they had the opportunity to win except for their last home match against FC Kansas City where their youth and inexperience playing together showed. The team has failed to produce goals scoring, albeit three times, in only one match this season. Not coincidentally the game that they scored in they won. The Dash will have to get on the board against the Thorns and take some of the pressure off of the defense.
Not everything is Rosey
Big things were expected from the Portland Thorns at the start of the season as the defending champions. However, they were without their big star, Alex Morgan, to start the season and Rachel Van Hollebeke has been suffering from an ankle injury she picked up in national team camp. Closing out games has been a problem for Portland this season but they had been able to keep from losing until this last weekend. The team suffered its first loss of the season to arch rival Seattle after giving up a goal in the 89th minute in Kim Little.
Angry match-up to watch
In the first match up Dash forward Ella Masar and Thorn goalkeeper Nadine Angerer had several encounters with the players colliding more than once.The first game that showed Masar isn't the least bit intimidated by one of the top goalkeepers in the world. Masar hasn't scored since the match against the Boston Breakers and wants more goals in her scoring account.
In the first match-up between the two teams Houston was able to control possession of the ball in the first half with control shifting to Portland in the second half. Players like Allie Long were given too much space to operate by the defense which proved costly. They will have to keep Long and forward Jessica McDonald from making runs into the box. If the Dash are able to get possession of the ball and more importantly put it in the back of the net they have a very good chance of beating Portland Wednesday night.