The Houston Dash welcome the Portland Thorns to PNC Stadium this evening for Pride Night. Houston is coming off a 0-0 draw with Angel City FC Tuesday night. Portland drew with San Diego Wave FC 2-2 on Wednesday. Houston and Portland have already met once this season, with the Dash winning 2-0 at Providence Park on May 21. Rachel Daly will once again miss this match as the Dash captain is on national team duty with England.
The Dash are currently on their longest unbeaten streak in club history. Houston’s only loss this season was in the opener against San Diego. The defense is one of the reasons the team has been on such a good run of form. The Dash are the only team in NWSL to allow less than five goals this season. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell has been the best goalkeeper in the league and the back four of Allysha Chapman, Katie Naughton, All Prisock, and Haley Hanson have been stout. Portland brings in a potent offense, led by Sophia Smith and Christine Sinclair, and Houston will have to keep up it’s fine play if they want to hold the Thorns scoreless again.
Lowdon continuing to flourish
Acting head coach Sarah Lowdon was given a difficult job when she took over days before the regular season. Not only has Lowdon taken to the job but she is continuing to flourish with each passing week. Lowdon told the media this week that she still leans on a number of people for advice. “I’ve definitely leaned on our players, I asked their opinions a lot,” Lowdon said. “It doesn’t always mean that’s the opinion I go with by any stretch. I do like to get some insight. I am very collaborative. I’ve also leaned on our staff a lot. I’ve obviously had some really good coaches that I’ve learned from obviously, like I’ve said it prior, like I haven’t had the titles on my resume, per se, which at the end of the day, like a lot of times decision makers make decisions based on your title on your resume. I’ve worked for some powerhouses in collegiate athletics and obviously, I’ve been at the Dash prior. I’ve worked with some really good people and just kind of leaning on those people to lean on experiences through those people, but also calling upon people with the network that I have, just for any insight, but at the end of the day, I think, you know, it’s I’m here and our staff here and we’re boots on the ground. At the end of the day, like we know what the team needs because we’re here every day and I think that’s just also important to know. Credit to our staff and our players who feel comfortable enough to come tell me when they have an opinion, which I think is really important for trust and communication.”
La Bombi breakout
Mexican star Maria Sanchez has just one assist this season and has not scored since the NWSL Challenge Cup. The fact that the Dash are having all this success with Sanchez relatively quiet speaks volumes to how the team is performing as a whole. Sanchez has been asked to play in positions she is not familiar with, like wing back, to help the team. Lowdon spoke about Sanchez this week and how she is taking to her different role. “Maria (Sanchez) is a special player,” Lowdon said in her weekly press conference. “Somebody I have really enjoyed coaching and she’s an integral part of this team and again, I think she’s done a job for us that necessarily doesn’t always — It’s not a flattering position to play a wing back. It’s kind of graveyard duty, if you like. You’re up and up and down the wing and nobody wants to run that much. But she’s done a job for us. She can obviously play multiple positions you can play as the nine she can play as a 10, she can play as a wingback. She could probably, do it all. She’s been a trooper in this period of time that we’ve had I just really enjoy coaching her.” If Sanchez can find herself in her new role and showcase her world class offensive talents, the sky is the limit for her and this Dash team.