Both teams are reeling from huge losses to the Seattle Reign and both will be looking to make an impression in this nationally televised game.
While the Houston Dash spent much of the season with an ever growing injury list it seems to have finally shrunk to the players who have been out most of the season. Brittany Bock and Lauren Sesselmann have been out most of the season with knee injuries. Teresa Noyola has been out the last few games with left achilles tendonitis and will miss the Portland game. Ella Masar is probable and was a second half sub in the Dash's loss to the Seattle Reign on Wednesday. Portland however have a massive injury list this week. Courtney Niemiec, Kat Tarr, Tobin Heath, Sinead Farrelly and Rachel Van Hollebeke are all out for this game. While Rebecca Moros, Stephanie Catley and Veronica Boquete are all listed as probable. If out for this game Boquete could be a big loss for the Thorns as she has scored three goals and six assists on the season.
The Thorns lost their match last weekend against Seattle 5-0. Thorn Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer had a horrible game against Seattle and will be looking for redemption against the Dash, really the whole team will. The Thorns played seven matches last month. Before for the loss to Seattle they drew against the Washington Spirit in a game that tired legs definitely factored into. Now that they have had a week to rest and play at home the Dash will no longer have that to their advantage. The Thorns will look to jump out to an early lead forcing the Dash to chase the game.
The Dash have spent a lot of the season chasing games. While the speed is there the team is still working to find its ability to finish and the defense is still working to find its rhythm. Last weekend the Dash played to a fairly boring 0-0 draw with the Chicago Red Stars in Chicago. They followed it up with a midweek loss at home falling 4-1 to Seattle in a less than stunning outing for the women in orange.
Having played 19 games the Dash have collected just 18 points this season and continue to sit one spot up from the bottom of the table. The Thorns on the other hand have 30 points from 21 games played and currently occupy the last spot in the playoffs. Because the Dash have so many games in hand they still have a mathematical chance at making the playoffs. The Chicago Red Stars sit one place below the Thorns with 28 points and Portland will want the three points to put a little more space between the two teams. Neither team can afford to drop this game.
Both times the Dash and Thorns have met this season it has ended 1-0. Both times it has ended in favor of the Thorns. Both of those times have been at BBVA Compass Stadium now on the road perhaps the Dash can collect three points of their own. The teams face off Sunday at 9pm CT at Providence Park in Portland. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN2.