In 2015 the Houston Dash finished in fifth just outside of making the playoffs while the Chicago Red Stars finished the regular season in second place. Both teams had busy offseasons with some big changes to their rosters.
The Dash made a number of additions this offseason but none may be bigger than drafting Canadian National team player Janine Beckie. Fresh out of Texas Tech she may be the key that the Dash have been looking for. Also joining the team is Amber Brooks to help bring some veteran presence to the midfield and the team as a whole. With Erin McLeod's departure to play overseas Bianca Henninger finds herself with the starting job in goal this season. Also back this season is USWNT star Carli Lloyd and CanWNT star Allysha Chapman. With so many roster changes this first match may be more about players learning to play with each other than hitting the ground running.
For Chicago veterans Lori Chalupny, Karina LeBlanc and Michelle Lomnicki all retired during the offseason. While Abby Erceg, Melissa Tancredi, Rachel Quon, Taryn Hemmings and Adriana Leon all departed Chicago during the offseason. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and midfielder Amanda DaCosta both joined the Red Stars this offseason. The 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year, Danielle Colaprico, is back for the Red Stars as are Julie Johnson and Christen Press. Similar to the Dash, the national team players have been away at camp and haven't had as much time to play the new roster additions.
Even though it is the start of a new season that doesn't mean teams aren't starting it without an injury report. Melissa Henderson and Cari Roccaro have both been ruled out for opening weekend. USWNT midfielder Morgan Brian is questionable with a strained hamstring. The Red Stars kick things off with a clean injury report.
The game kicks off at 7:30 pm CT and will be streamed live online
In the lead up to Saturday's match DT ran a series of articles preview the season which you can check out the links to below.
2016 Houston Dash Season Preview: Missed moves
Who will surprise this season?
The Houston Dash will be successful this year if...
2016 Houston Dash Season Preview: Make or Break
2016 Houston Dash Season Preview: Fans, fans, fans