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Houston Dash in Playoff Showdown

Houston need win against Breakers to stay in post season

Denise O'Sullivan and the Dash travel to Boston to keep their playoffs hopes alive.
Denise O'Sullivan and the Dash travel to Boston to keep their playoffs hopes alive.
Trask Smith

The situation is fairly dire for the Houston Dash as they head into Week 17. With two matches this week — the first on Wednesday  against the Boston Breakers — the Dash need to tally wins to keep some hope of playoff contention alive.

Their challenge Wednesday presents both good and bad opportunities for the post season plans. The Boston Breakers have already been eliminated from the playoffs for this season, which could be a (and maybe in some rights should be) something to play to Houston's favor. However, it also can (and seems to be) serving as more fuel to the fire for the Breakers.

In their match against FC Kansas City last week, the Boston ladies handed the eighth-place team a 2-0 scoreline. Midfielders Katie Schoepfer and Kristie Mewis tallied their first goals of the season during the match. Goalkeeper Jami Kranich was a force to be reckoned with as well during the match. It was her strong keeping that allowed the Breakers to take the upper hand in the first half and keep it. She was able to keep FCKC's midfielders Yael Averbuch and Heather O'Reilly off the score board in the first 45 minutes. This strong showing in the Breakers back line fueled their attacks on FCKC to lead to the upset.

Houston marches into Boston after a 2-2 draw last week against the Western New York Flash. The Dash started strong, hitting the goal first in the 28th minute with a nice shot from Denise O'Sullivan. But their weak points showed not eight minutes later when Lianne Sanderson would pull one back for New York.

It would be forward Kealia Ohai who would lead the charge to bring Houston back in front. But again, the defense were unable to help hold the lead, allowing the Flash's Lynn Williams to draw even a few minutes later.

It's this back and forth in scoring that has been the latest woe of the Dash. While the offense seem to finally be capitalizing on scoring opportunities, the team continues to struggle on the defensive end. It seems quite obvious of course, but the Dash will need to quickly get both offense and defense in sync against the Breakers if they hope to have a chance at the playoffs.

According to NWSLsoccer.com, there are quite a number of possibilities for the Dash depending on the outcome against Boston tomorrow night.

— If the Houston Dash lose or draw against the Boston Breakers, they will be eliminated from the 2016 NWSL Playoffs.

— HOWEVER, should Houston notch three points against the Breakers, a number of different scenarios arise, all based on the Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team.

From the NWSLsoccer.com website:

Magic Number or Elimination Number overview for all 10 teams:

#

TEAM

PTS

GD

GR

MAX PTS

Magic No.

Elim. No.

1

Washington Spirit

35

11

4

47

1

--

2

Portland Thorns FC

29

6

4

41

7

--

3

Chicago Red Stars

28

3

4

40

8

--

4

Western New York Flash

27

11

4

39

9

--

5

Seattle Reign FC

23

6

4

35

--

9

6

Sky Blue FC

22

-4

4

34

--

8

7

Orlando Pride

18

-6

4

30

--

4

8

FC Kansas City

16

-5

4

28

--

2

9

Houston Dash

13

-3

5

28

--

2

10

Boston Breakers

10

-20

5

25

--

Eliminated

Glossary – Pts: Points, GD: Goal difference, GR: Games Remaining, MAX PTS: Maximum points possible

The Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team does not reflect scenarios that require tiebreakers. Tiebreaker scenarios are required when a team’s Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

For more information on how to figure up the magic and/or elimination numbers, visit NWSLsoccer.com.

The pivotal match up between the Houston Dash and Boston Breakers will kick off at 7 p.m. CT at Jordan Field, Allston, Massachusetts. You can catch the game live on NWSL's Youtube channel.