Riding a three-game unbeaten streak, the Houston Dash continue their quest to find a way into the playoffs as they stay at home this week and take on the Washington Spirit at BBVA Compass Stadium Thursday night.
The Dash have quite the battle ahead of them as the Spirit currently sit second in the NWSL standings. Houston find themselves going into this week second from last in the league.
To set up a much-needed win for Houston, the defensive line will have to watch out for midfielder Estefania Banini. Named NWSL Player of the Month for July, Banini was a scoring force for the Spirit in July. The 26-year-old notched four goals for Washington last month and lead them to a 4-1-0 record, closing the six-point gap the Portland Thorns had on the Spirit in league standings.
But Houston isn't without its own stand out players. Forward Kealia Ohai was recently voted in as NWSL Player of the Week, the third Dash player this season to get the nod. She and forward Rachel Daly have been steady, key figures for Houston this season, especially with the loss of several players to international play at the Olympic games in Rio.
Ohai nabbed herself a brace July 31 against the Western New York Flash and along with Daly's early goal had Houston up with the lead until the third minute of stoppage time when the Flash would tie the score.
Defender Stephanie Ochs continues to play an important role on the pitch for Houston as well; it was her footwork that fed in the ball to Ohai on her second goal of the match against the Flash. Ochs put the pressure on the defense of New York as well, taking a close shot of her own on goal in the 80th minute.
Look for Head Coach Randy Waldrum to rely on these three players again to help push Houston toward gaining points against the Washington Spirit. Though the Spirit are currently battling Portland Thorns FC for the top spot in the league, the Thorns can attest to the fact you can't count the Houston Dash out just yet.
Kick off at BBVA Compass Stadium will be at 7 p.m. CT. You can catch a live stream of the game on the NWSL's Youtube channel.