The Houston Dash return from the international break tonight with a trip to take on the Kansas City Current in the second leg of the DerbyQ. KC won the first match up of these two teams in the NWSL Challenge Cup 3-0 at PNC Stadium on March 30. With just one win in 4 matches, can Houston make a late charge on the Challenge Cup’s Central division?
The NWSL Challenge Cup took a break the last two weeks due to the international window but some Dash players were still in action with their national teams. Rachel Dale (England), Maria Sanchez (Mexico), Allysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince, Sophie Schmidt (Canada), and Michelle Alozie (Nigeria) all played for their country during this window. Paulina Gramaglia (Argentina U20) remains away on international duty. A number of these players are starters and it remains to be seen if they return right away to the Dash XI or are rested tonight.
Six points a must
Houston currently sits in third place in the NWSL Challenge Cup Central division with three points from four matches. Kansas City and the Chicago Red Stars are tied for first with seven points. If the Dash have any hope of advancing they are going to need to pick up a win tonight in Kansas City and in their final match of the group stage on April 24 against Louisville at home. Wins in these final two games would give the Dash nine points with a chance, albeit small, to move on in the Challenge Cup. If they want any chance at all however, they have got to beat the Current this evening.
Where are the goals?
After a three-goal outburst in the second half of the match against Racing Louisville, the Dash have failed to score in their last two outings. A 3-0 loss to Kansas City was followed by a 2-0 loss to Chicago, leaving Houston looking for answers on the offensive end. The trio of Rachel Daly, Maria Sanchez, and Nichelle Prince are dangerous and should be creating more goals and scoring opportunities. Will the three get another chance to lead the line and help the Dash get on the scoresheet again or will we see reinforcements like Bri Visalli or Makamae Gomera-Stevens get a start?
Houston Dash – Out: Emily Ogle (right knee), Paulina Gramaglia (international duty); Questionable: Cali Farquharson (right leg)
Kansas City Current – Out: Hailie Mace (right leg), Lynn Williams (right leg), Sam Mewis (right leg), Chloe Logarzo (right leg)