The fourth place Portland Thorns and the eighth place Houston Dash face off in a mid-week game on Wednesday. While the Dash are coming off their first win of the season the Thorns are coming off an emotional loss to their rival.
The Dash are looking to ride the positive energy after their win over Sky Blue over the weekend. It was a back and forth battle that saw the Dash make a number of changes to the starting lineup. Key among those changes were moving Rachel Daly and Kristie Mewis off the defensive line and back to their natural positions on offense. The move meant that Kimberly Keever and Lindsey Agnew would start on the wings on defense. Head coach Vera Pauw also chose to start Nichelle Prince. The changes made a visible difference as the Dash looked potent on offense for the first time this season.
Prince was the one to kick off the scoring battle in the 24th minute for a 1-0 lead, a score that would hold until the second half. Sky Blue’s Katie Johnson scored in the 57th minute to tie things up but Daly scored two minutes later to retake the lead. Johnson scored again in the 73rd minute in a goal that looked like it would cause the game to end in a 2-2 draw. But Veronica Latsko, who came on for Agnew in the 71st minute, would score in the 79th minute to give the Dash a win. It was one of the first times we have seen the Dash fight back after giving up the lead during a game.
The Portland Thorns are also coming off a 3-2 game but that game did not end in their favor as they fell to rival Seattle Reign. It was a wild back and forth with the Thorns getting off 24 shots in the game with ten of those shots coming from the feet of Lindsey Horan. They walked away with goals from Emily Sonnet and Horan. That goal puts Horan only one goal behind teammate Christine Sinclair, the league leader in goals, who has scored four goals this season.
Unsurprisingly, the lineups changes for the Dash created more venerability in the back while giving the team a better chance on offense. The Dash will have to be careful against the Thorns who have a much stronger offense than Sky Blue. The improved firepower may work against the Thorns who have allowed nine goals this season. The challenge will come at holding off the Thorns offense. If the Dash are able to dig deep and keep the Thorns out of the box they may have a chance at winning two in a row.
After playing on Wednesday the Dash will follow it up with a game this weekend against the Chicago Red Stars on the road. With three games in one week Pauw will have to carefully rotate players and keep the squad as fresh as she can with so many games in a row. The Thorns also have a game on Saturday and will have to look at rotating the lineup, but their weekend game sees them return to their home field to play. If they rests some of their firepower on Wednesday it may help give the Dash an edge.
The midweek match-up takes place on Wednesday at 7 pm CT.
Who: Houston Dash vs Portland Thorns
When: Wednesday, May 9 at 7 pm CT
Where: BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX