The Houston Dash may have come away with a tie against Sky Blue FC last week, but as the team sits in fifth in the NWSL league standings, the players will look to capitalize on home advantage against the Portland Thorns Saturday.
The scoreline looked familiar for the Dash on Sunday against Sky Blue (1-1) and so did a few of the defensive errors committed by the team. It would be a lack of defending on set pieces that allowed SBFC to go up in the 11th minute. Last week before the match, Head Coach Randy Waldrum stated his team had been working hard on offensive play, while still giving attention to their defense.
The offense, however, did benefit from extra attention in training. The pressure from the offense throughout the second half helped the Dash come back. Forward Allie Bailey would come in the 83rd minute and score her first NWSL goal three minutes later.
A solid, fast offense could be a key factor in a win against Portland on Saturday. The Thorns are riding a three-game losing streak and the last time they faced the Dash, it would be Houston who came out on top thanks to Jessica McDonald. McDonald was traded by Portland to Houston for draft picks. While the University of North Carolina product says there's no need for pay back against Portland (McDonald was their top scorer last year, but lost minutes to Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair), she could be a key against a win over her former club. Look for Waldrum to use her wisely against the Thorns.
However, after Sunday's match, the Dash will probably need to put a bit more attention back to their defensive line. With their current fifth place position in the standings, Houston is on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time in the club's history. Look for that possibility to hopefully push the team to clean up the defense even more. The Dash may have a three-game unbeaten streak, but a solid defense will help the team get the three points they really need.
Kick off at BBVA Compass Stadium Saturday is set for 7:30 p.m.