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Houston Dash head west for midweek clash with Portland Thorns

Escaping the Rose City with a result will be no easy feat

SOCCER: JUL 20 NWSL - Houston Dash at Washington Spirit Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dash produced a spirited comeback on Saturday against the Washington Spirit to pick up their first win since May 11, and a quick turnaround has them traveling across the country to take on the league-leading Portland Thorns on Wednesday. Kickoff from Providence Park is slated for 9:30 PM CT and the action can be viewed live on Yahoo! Sports.

The biggest question heading into the match is whether or not Rachel Daly will be able to play at full strength. Her return to action proved instrumental in the win over the Spirit, but she was on the receiving end of a brutal challenge in the dying moments that went unpunished by the official.

The 2-1 result will have given the Dash a boost of confidence as they aim to complete a successful two-game road trip. Midfielder Sophie Schmidt maintained that the squad is upbeat following Saturday’s result and won’t be hampered by the short rest and lengthy travel.

“The win was so huge for us. To walk away with three points after especially being in a bit of a rut, losing a couple games. It’s a good feeling and our spirits are high, even though we did have to travel across the country.”

Portland lead the NWSL with 23 points and are coming off a 2-2 draw with Utah on Friday. It’s hardly a poor result on paper, but the visitors will likely consider it two points dropped after their go-ahead goal in the 87th minute was cancelled out by Royals defender Rachel Corsie in the final minute of regulation. They were boosted by the return of four World Cup champions: Tobin Heath, Emily Sonnett, Lindsey Horan, and Adrianna Franch. Franch was handed the start between the sticks and Horan went the full ninety in midfield, while Sonnett and Heath both made substitute appearances.

Head coach Mark Parsons fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation in the opening weeks with a full-strength roster at his disposal, so it will be interesting to see whether or not he switches back or sticks with the 3-4-1-2 look used in recent games. Midge Purse leads the way for Portland in the goals department with six tallies, while Meghan Klingenberg has played provider on four occasions. Only North Carolina have found the back of the net more times than the Thorns at 25 goals scored through 13 games played.

Portland edged out the Dash with a 2-1 result in the first meeting of the year three and a half weeks ago. Kyah Simon grabbed the lead six minutes into the second half, but goals from Tyler Lussi and Margaret Purce on a night when Houston often looked the better side.

With three of four matches coming at home following Wednesday’s fixture, a result in the Rose City could put Houston well on their way to returning to their early season form and making a charge up the table.